#Blogtour The Urbanboys: Discovery of the Five Senses

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Urbanboys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith.

About the Author

K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, a Readers’ Favourite “Gold Medal” honoree for “Young Adult – Mystery”, and the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards “1st Place Honoree” for “New Author: Fiction and Science Fiction/Fantasy”, is an author and advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. 

Her lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist and grind through action-adventure and urban fantasy in edge-of-your-seat narratives. K.N. has over twenty-five years’ experience in communications and creative design as an award-winning consultant. Reading is still her foremost hobby. 

She inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits. Visit K.N. Smith at knsmith.com, follow @knsmith_author on Instagram

About the book

Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived. – A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, will the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.

Review

Is it fate or destiny, really? When you consciously or subconsciously work towards a certain outcome or goal the questions turns to whether it is a self-fulfilling prophecy instead. Is it fate or is it just what certain people have already decided, hence working towards that outcome. More importantly when you receive a power that can change the world is it not true that eventually power corrupts? Isn’t it true that sometimes there is only a thin line between good and evil?

It’s YA, but I would put it on the older age range instead of the younger. Not that the violence is gory or over the top, there is however an element that takes it to the next level. In particular the first chapters between two of the young men goes from competitive to vicious in a few moments. It’s the description of the scenes between the two of them that elevates the violence to a level of more than survival and rather power and pleasure at the results of their actions.

I think the flowery and overly descriptive prose was less suited to the genre and story. I can imagine it being just right for a venture into something more in keeping with the artistic way the words are woven. It’s a bit like two ideas colliding and not being quite comfortable with each other. The reader is distracted by one while trying to filter the story through the aforementioned.

It’s an ambitious and creative premise with plenty of areas to develop the story and the characters further. Dystopian allows for a reimagining of the old and to push forward boldly into the new and unknown.

Buy The Urbanboys: Discovery of the Five Senses at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Publisher ‏: ‎Two Petals Publishing; pub date 29 Sept. 2015. Buy Discovery of Five Senses.

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#Blogtour The Widow’s Walk by John Anthony Miller

It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Widow’s Walk by John Anthony Miller.

About the Author

John Anthony Miller writes all things historical—thrillers, mysteries, and romance. He sets his novels in exotic locations spanning all eras of space and time, with complex characters forced to face inner conflicts, fighting demons both real and imagined. 

Each of his novels are unique: a Medieval epic, four historical mysteries, two Cold-War thrillers, a 1970’s cozy/romance, four WWII thrillers, and the Revolutionary War spy novel, The Minister’s Wife. 

He lives in southern New Jersey. Follow @authorjamiller on Twitter

About the book

Cape May, N.J. 1976 – When NYC editor Audrey Taylor finalizes her divorce, it seems as if her entire world has collapsed around her. And when she inherits a run-down Victorian mansion in a decaying N.J. beach town, it only seems to get worse. At least, until she finds the treasure map.

The Widow’s Walk is a tale of growth, self-discovery, and learning to appreciate all the good that life has to offer. A romance wrapped in a historical subplot, a mystery hidden in a centuries-old crime, it ties two unsuspecting people together to find a love that neither expected—which is far more precious than buried treasure could ever be.

Review

As many people after the collapse of a long-term relationship, perhaps especially women, it’s often a struggle to find a new place for themselves in the world and their own lives. Audrey has been delegated to the space of used and no longer needed – replaced for a younger model and no longer as needed by her grown children.

This story is about stepping into a new period in her life. One she can shape and define for herself. New friendships, new house, new area to live in and is there also the chance for something more than friendship.

When the second-romance story comes with the realistic process of a reboot, the eye of the reader is firmly fixed on potential candidates who are nice on the eye. The author then takes that concept, adds a wee bit of mystery and a treasure hunt to mix. What a better way to get to know someone than when you are looking for the answers to a really old mystery – hunting for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or in a ramshackle old house. Perhaps Audrey will find more than just the key to mystery – this is the right time to embrace all the new changes and see the positive in them.

It’s a interesting combination of discovery of self, moving on from the old version of her family unit and creating a new existence, which then wanders into the world of myths, legends and a hunt for hidden treasure.

Buy The Widow’s Walk at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Solstice Publishing, pub date 31 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour She, You, I by Sally Keeble

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour She, You, I by Sally Keeble

About the Author

Sally writes about the things she’s passionate about—the triumphs and tragedies of people’s everyday lives. It’s what originally took her into journalism and then politics, and keeps her active there still.

Growing up in a diplomatic family, she spent much of her early years in the USA, Switzerland and Australia, returning home to the UK after working as a journalist in South Africa. She made the switch from journalism to politics, first as a South London council leader during the turbulent 1980s and then as one of the big intake of Labour women MPs who changed the face of British politics in 1997. She became a minister in local government and then international development.

Itchy feet don’t stand still. After losing her seat, she set up an international development agency for the Anglican Communion, and travelled widely, especially in Africa and South Asia. She’s written nonfiction previously, especially on women’s issues and social policy, but “She, You, I” is her first novel. To learn about creative writing, she did courses with City Lit and Jericho Writers, and has had pieces of flash fiction shortlisted in competitions. 

Some of the storylines in “She, You, I” draw from insights gained from her personal and political life. Sally splits her time between Northampton, where she was MP, and Bawdsey, a village in coastal Suffolk close to her family roots. She and her husband Andrew have two adult children. Follow @Sally_Keeble on Twitter

About the book

When Skye Stanhope returns to her grandmother’s childhood home, she’s looking for the roots of her life story. Why her tough-minded granny Maisie ran away to war. And why her brilliant mother Isla died. Her search for the truth stretches across almost a century of conflict, peace, boomtime and bust, into the uneasy calm of post pandemic Britain.

“She, You, I” is the debut novel of Sally Keeble, a former journalist and MP. She has written non-fiction previously, focussing on social and feminist issues, and many of these themes run through her novel.

For Maisie, signing up to fight in the second world war provides a way to escape poverty and violence at home. But she finds herself caught up in new tragedy, and her unresolved grief is played out in the lives of her own daughters. It’s only in the third generation that her granddaughter Skye is able to heal the wounds. Woven through the women’s lives is Hsiao Ling, a seamstress whose ancestor disappeared in wartime France.

It’s an emotional journey, from a Scottish tenement to an airbase in wartime Suffolk, through London’s fashion and finance industries, to a coffee cart by the south coast. Through each woman’s story, “She, You, I” holds up a mirror to the complexity of family relationships and answers the question, How many generations does it take to recover from abuse.

For the author, “She, You, I” is a chance to explore in fiction some of the issues that she campaigned on during her time in politics. It shows how women’s lives have changed, and the challenges we’ve faced. It also tells a story of hope and reconciliation that aims to make readers laugh as well as cry.

Review

I have to admit it wasn’t what I expected or presumed it would be, which was a story about women, their loves, their children and grandchildren. A Catherine Cookson with plenty of upheaval and a fulfilling ending to the heartbreak and sorrow. Not that it wouldn’t have been a good read, but this is so much more.

The author picks apart the generational trauma that simmers quietly underneath and becomes evident in different ways, as the torch is passed through the decades and the changes in the world. How the love between mother and daughter can be both an unbreakable twine that defines their relationship, and simultaneously be a precarious string burdened by guilt, anger and disbelief. 

Also the way these emotions and trauma are passed on via the relationships, despite younger generations being unaware of said burden. The experiences of a child with their parent/s define the person they become and how they navigate their own lives, expectations and relationships moving forward.

I enjoyed the lack of drama, the way each era and daughter is written as their own scene and story almost. A staccato experience of chapters – Kodak moments of personalities and key moments or events. The author has captured the nuances and complexities with a brusque accuracy and also the often forgotten element of six degrees of separation. 

I really enjoyed it. I think it spoke to me because it didn’t focus on the reason for the destruction and cause of the trauma, but rather on the denial, coping mechanisms, and the way women have been taught to make do with the cards we are dealt. You made your bed, now you must lay in it. As the women in the family move beyond that mentality the strength and determination lets them create their intended path. Blood and family doesn’t mean loyalty and blind acceptance, especially if doing so means your own downfall.

Buy She, You, I at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Eleanor Press, pub date 11 Jan. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Blogtour The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel. Winner of the Merky Books New Writers Prize.

About the Author

Jyoti Patel was born in Paris to British Indian parents and grew up in North West London. She is a graduate of the University of East Anglia’s Prose Fiction MA and winner of the 2021 #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize. Her writing has previously been published as part of We Present’s ‘Literally’ series and in the anthology for the 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize, for which she was shortlisted. The Things That We Lost is her debut novel. Follow @Jyoti__Patel on Twitter

About the book

This moving coming of age story explores what it means to be a person of colour in Britain today, discussing themes of identity and the stories that we tell ourselves to manage trauma.

Nik yearns to know more about his father, who died before he was born. His mother, Avani, held hostage by her guilt surrounding his death, refuses to share any information with her son. Nik is forced to create a fragmented image of his father, pulled together from hushed whispers at family gatherings and photos stolen from his mother’s bedroom.

When his grandfather dies, secrets are revealed, and everything Nik thinks he knows about his father is turned on its head. Nik makes it his mission to discover the truth about his father and the circumstances of his death, uncovering painful truths in the process.

The Things That We Lost is a beautifully tender exploration of family, loss, and the lengths we go to, to protect the ones we love.

Review

A story of coming-of-age, a discovery of self, identity and truth. Yes, but simultaneously there is the silent repression that walks alongside the story of Nik in the form of his mother and her own truth.

It’s interesting how the entire group of family, friends become enmeshed in the structure of the invisible fabric Avani weaves around her life and her emotional lability. A lability that shows itself outwardly as strength – a simmering cauldron of denial and seething emotions. Keeping her son safe from the truth. Or is she?

Is the truth just another word for grief? For me this is what is at the core of the story, not just an examination of culture, lack of acceptance, ingrained systemic racism and inter-cultural traditions that clash with society norms that don’t demand or expect certain things in relationships.

It’s a fascinating read, but also a compassionate and introspective one. Take note of this name, I’m guessing you’ll be hearing more from and by this author in the future. The kind of talent that creates an atmosphere thick with emotion, unspoken words and heavy tension, and lays it all on top of thin layer of ice. Throughout the read you are waiting for the first crack, as the weight of the aforementioned begins to cause irreparable damage or is it just simply a release from guilt and pain.

Buy The Things That We Lost at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Merky Books pub date 12th January 2023 – £16.99, Audio, HBK, EBK. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Strays by Janeen Leese-Taylor

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour Strays by Janeen Leese-Taylor.

About the Author

Janeen is an Irish author born and raised on the scenic Causeway Coast. Curious, and with a great love for adventure, Jan spent her childhood climbing trees and talking to her imaginary friends, many of whom have now found a home in her writing.

She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising and works for gaming companies around the world. She is a lover of all things fantasy and aims to bring some magic to the places that she visits in her writing. Portstewart, Dublin and Chester City each feature prominently in both her travels and her writing, and her stories often draw from real life places that have captured her heart.

As an ultramarathon runner, Jan often writes on the go, using her trusty phone and stylus to craft scenes that come to her after hours on her feet. 

She lives with her husband, Liam, their Border Collie-Cross, Zarya, and their Guinea Pig, (Peek-A) Boo, who they all fear will one day take over the world! Follow @InkAndSmudge on Twitter. @inkandsmudgebooks/ on Instagram or JLeeseTaylorAuthor on Facebook

About the book

A murder without evidence, a secret that could topple society and a cop with a bit of a coffee habit!

Three things were certain in the mind of Officer Theodore Night: One: There’s a serial killer loose in Portstewart. Two: His new friend is a werewolf. Three: He’s in way over his head

When bloody paw prints at a crime scene leads Officer Night to consider the impossible, he must rely not only on his years of investigative experience, but on the local werewolf pack, for help. An unlikely friendship gives Night the edge he needs to prevent an all-out war. Has Blair, the mysterious barista from Bean and Gone, caused him to bite off more than he can chew?

Review

Officer Theo Night – always willing to lend a helping hand even if it means putting himself in danger. He also has the habit of collecting strays, both the four-legged and the two-legged kind, sometimes a combination of both.

Hot on the heels of a vicious killer, someone or something that likes to annihilate entire families, is out there causing mayhem and Theo is determined to find them. It seems like the wrong time to be picking up young men in distress, especially when his home is filled with a pack of protective family members led by a small alpha with a mega attitude.

Side note – sometimes less is more when it comes to describing a person, perhaps to differentiate one speaker from the other and to ensure the reader knows who is speaking. The flow of dialogue and the story becomes stunted by the repeated use of – the smaller man, the dark-haired man for example.

Urban-fantasy with a mystery/crime vibe, and to top it off it’s also LGBTQ – It ticks plenty of boxes, that’s for sure. It has the potential to be an interesting series, as the author hones her skills and delves deeper into that vein of creativity.

Buy Strays at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Blossom Spring Publishing; pub date 17 Nov. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Simple Truth by James Buckler

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Simple Truth by James Buckler.

About the Author

James Buckler lives in London. He has worked in film and TV for many years, most notably for MTV and BBC Films. His first thriller, Last Stop Tokyo, published to critical acclaim. The Simple Truth is his second novel. Follow @jamesbuckwriter on Twitter

About the book

A young woman is dead. A very wealthy client needs a favour. You’re newly qualified as a lawyer and this could be your big break, so you jump at the chance.

The case is about to be closed. All you have to do is talk to a family, ask them to sign some papers. How difficult could it be? Their daughter was found dead at a beauty spot on the outskirts of London in what you’re told was a tragic suicide. 

Only you can uncover what really happened. But the truth is never that simple. And this case could cost you your life…

Review

What’s the difference between the crime organisations that deal with the street and the corporate world that cross the occasional boundary? None at all really other than the fact corporate believe they have the moral high ground, due to their education and the nepotism that gives them a helping hand on their paths. Criminal is criminal, right?

When Lewis is picked for distasteful job of getting an NDA signed, by the boss of his form of all people. He thinks it’s a foot in the door to the top, he also presumes it’s because the top tier can see the potential in him. It takes him a while to figure out he is the low-class patsy that belongs neither here nor there, because one set of people won’t accept him because he works for the enemy and the enemy think he will never be good enough to be considered an equal.

Lewis is the perfect man in the middle, and the kind of character that readers feel sympathy for, as he stumbles right into a wasps nest with the best of intentions. Well, perhaps his ambition allows him to ignore the obvious.

It’s a legal thriller, which has the potential to be a series, as Lewis grows and becomes more secure in his self, his nose for crime, and his inadvertent interest in the truth.

Buy The Simple Truth at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bantam Press, pub date 5th January 2023 / Hardback / £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Green Shoots by Ben Westwood

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour Green Shoots by Ben Westwood.

About the Author

Ben Westwood is an author, lecturer and performer. He has worked for many years as a journalist, writing for publications including The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian and The Independent. He lived for several years in South America and has authored travel guidebooks to Ecuador, Galapagos and Peru.

Green Shoots is his first novel and draws on his own experience of grief and of living in Ecuador.

Ben now lives in East Sussex with his two children and lectures at the University of Brighton. In his spare time, he is a singer-songwriter and has released two self-funded albums.

To accompany the release of his debut novel, Ben is releasing a Green Shoots Soundtrack of 10 original songs on the themes of grief, loss, love and healing, available on Spotify, iTunes and all major music channels from September 2022. For further information on all Ben’s writing and music, benwestwood.net or music on benwestwoodmusic.com. Follow @benwestwood on Twitter

About the book

The Constant Gardener meets Dexter – Green Shoots is a gripping conspiracy thriller with an ecological heart. 

Brought back from the brink of suicide by a mysterious phone call, grieving journalist John Adamson is on a quest for the truth about his wife Christina’s death in South America. 

A private investigator provides John with clues to what really happened, but also tips him off to investigate a spate of deaths of businessmen, all found with the same cryptic message: “Out of their ashes, green shoots will grow.” 

From the protest-filled streets of London to the ravaged jungles of Ecuador, John is unwittingly drawn into a lethal plot. There seems to be a vigilante killer on the loose, but who is behind these murders and what is the connection to his wife’s death?

Review

Literally sat on the top of a cliff contemplating the most tragic and desperate of choices, due to the loss of the woman he loved most dearly, until a stranger intervenes. A voice from the ether or a voice with a hidden agenda.

It certainly seems as if John is being watched constantly, they seem to be everywhere and know each step he takes. At first he is blinded by the thought that his life was saved by a stranger with good intentions, the realisation that he is merely a tool in a game of reckless profit is something he isn’t able to see at first.

The death of his wife and the mystery surrounding the reason and the culprit – it overshadows his ability to see events through the lens of his experience.

The criminal element of the plot is offset by the underlying tone of grief and loss that follows the main character throughout the story. The shadow and depth of darkness that is always there lingering in the background. In a way being dragged unwillingly into the lethal and ruthless machinations of the eco criminals keeps John from giving up on life completely.

It’s an eco thriller that gives a glimpse into the brutality of the profiteering, the ruthless bulldozing of criminals only interested in money, whilst simultaneously drawing on the drive and desperation of a man haunted by loss and grief.

Buy Green Shoots at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Cranthorpe Millner Publishers, pub date 27 Sept. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Different, Not Less by Chloé Hayden

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Different, Not Less: A neurodivergent’s guide to embracing your true self and finding your happily ever after by Chloé Hayden.

About the Author

Chloé Hayden is an award-winning actor and disability advocate, motivational speaker and social media influencer. Whose story of being ‘different, not less’ has attracted a worldwide following. She is currently appearing in Heartbreak High, the Netflix remake of the iconic Australian series. Follow @chloeshayden on Twitter

About the book

Growing up, Chloé Hayden felt like she’d crash-landed on an alien planet where nothing made sense. Eye contact? Small talk? And why are you people so touchoriented? None of it made sense. 

Chloé desperately wished to be part of the fairytales she so dearly loved. A world in which the lead is considered a hero because of their differences, rather than excluded and pushed aside for them. 

She moved between 10 schools in 8 years, struggling to become a person she believed society would accept. After years of being ‘weird, quirky, Chloé’ she was eventually diagnosed with autism and ADHD. It was only after a life-changing group of allies showed her that different did not mean less that she learned to celebrate her true voice and find her happily ever after.

Different, Not Less is a moving, at times funny story of how it feels to be neurodivergent as well as a practical guide, with insights on how autism and ADHD present differently in females, advice for living with meltdowns and shutdowns, tips for finding supportive relationships, communities and workplaces and much more.

Whether you’re neurodivergent or supporting those who are, Different, Not Less will inspire you to create a more inclusive world where everyone feels like they belong.

Review

Books like these are important – we need more of them. The views, experiences, suggestions and even wisdom of neurodivergent people should be used to educate, to widen horizons, to clear up misconceptions, and most importantly used to enhance the ever evolving scientific and medical research into the world of neurodiversity.

It’s one thing to look at data, statistics, behaviour patterns, the way they experience the world and stimuli around them, it’s quite another to do so without extensive feedback from the very people who live the day-today experience. It isn’t about getting answers that will lead to healing or correcting them to suit societal norms and expectations – I think that is often the crux and drive behind the way educational institutes, medical experts, and even the loved ones and friends they are surrounded by act towards them.

Unable to fit into the norm? Sorry, unable to meet your needs. The expectation is that they take the route of ABC, when their path is perhaps more of a BADC. Also the realisation that neurodivergent children and adults experience life on a vast variety of levels and how nuanced and layered it can be. Just as the neurotypical person is allowed to be an individual, so should the neurodivergent person be allowed to do the same. As the author says – they should feel free and safe to unmask and live openly with the stims, and all aspects of their diversity. Instead of having to control their true selves in certain environments just because it might make someone else uncomfortable.

I love the fact the book has such a positive feel to it. Embracing the neurodiversity and finding power in acknowledging that it is part of who you are, so let’s make sure we have the right tools and knowledge to be more at peace with self and happy. It’s a book of empowerment of taking ownership of self, and taking care of oneself in the process.

I really enjoyed the read, perhaps more so because it also gave me a much better perspective on what some of my loved ones experience, need, and how I can make it easier for them to live a less stressful and happier live by being there when they need me and in the way that they need me. What and how they need and not how I think they need me. 

I was looking forward to reading this and have been mentioning this book to plenty of people around me – it certainly is a book I will continue to recommend to others. 

Buy Different, Not Less at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎Murdoch Books; pub date 5 Jan. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour What Tracy Did Next by T. A. Belshaw

It’s my turn on the Blogtour What Tracy Did Next by T. A. Belshaw.

About the Author

T A Belshaw is from Derbyshire in the United Kingdom where he shares a house with his chatty rescue cat, Mia. He writes for both children and adults. A former miner and computer technician, Trevor studied Advanced Creative Writing at the Open University. He is the author of Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail and the noir, suspense novella, Out of Control. Following the sudden death of his wife in 2015 Trevor took a five-year break from writing, returning during lockdown in 2020, when an injury forced him to take time off work. The result of this new creative burst was the Dual Timeline, Family Saga, Unspoken and the Historical Cosy Crime Whodunnit, Murder at the Mill.

Trevor signed his first contract with Spellbound Books Ltd in April 2021. He signed a further mullti-book contract with them in the spring of 2022.

His short stories have been published in various anthologies including 100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan, Another Haircut, Shambelurkling and Other Stories, Deck the Halls, 100 Stories for Queensland and The Cafe Lit anthology 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also has two pieces in Shambelurklers Return. 2014

Trevor is also the author of 15 children’s adventure books written under the name of Trevor Forest. 

His children’s poem, Clicking Gran, was long listed for the Plough prize (children’s section) in 2009 and his short poem, My Mistake, was rated Highly Commended and published in an anthology of the best entries in the Farringdon Poetry Competition.

Trevor’s articles have been published in magazines as diverse as Ireland’s Own, The Best of British and First Edition. Follow @tabelshaw on Twitter, trevorbelshaw.com/

About the book

The gossip machine is back with more juicy titbits as Tracy casts her all-seeing eye over the lives of the people around her.

Tracy is in a quandary. Should she accept Detective Sergeant Neil Hartley’s marriage proposal? Is she truly ready for a life of domesticity while there are so many men she hasn’t met yet, so many places she hasn’t been, so many clothes she hasn’t tried on.

A lover of cloned, market stall fashion and the Primark sales rail, Tracy is still working the promotions circuit under the guidance of her uber-iffy agent, Shayne Slider.

What on earth are Faliraki Flaps? What really happened when Tracy went on holiday with her best friend, Emma? Get an insight into what she got up to in her last year at school as Tracy dips into her personal diaries and lifts the lid on her most intimate secrets. What Tracy Did Next. An eye-opening giggle fest.

Review

This is part of a series of short reads – novella length. The trials and tribulations of Tracy told via old diary entries, emails, and in a very narrator speaking to the audience kind of way. It gives the reader the sense that she is often referring to the audience along for the read.

Tracy and friends are off on holiday – a time of reflection for her, during which she can ponder on the proposal of marriage she has recently received. Sounds simple enough, right? And sensible, right? Well, it’s Tracy for one thing and what happens on holiday is either something you are willing to forget about, regret or  it could possibly change your life. I think all of these things apply to the trip they take.

This is more or less the gateway to the popular smut-read, bordering on certain scenarios, then steering clear of too many details. It’s also very much written from a ‘what I think women think and do’ perspective. A read I would put into New Adult, due to the many sexual references. I found it a bit brash and lewd, but I’m sure there are plenty of readers who will enjoy the titillating experiences of Tracy and her friends.

Buy What Tracy Did Next at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Pub date 3 Nov 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Death in Heels by Kitty Murphy

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Death in Heels by Kitty Murphy.

About the Author

Kitty Murphy lives with her husband, Roger, on the very westerly edge of CO. Clare, Ireland. She adores drag in all its forms and crime fiction in all its chilling splendour. Kitty is bi/queer. From a well spent youth divided equally between the library and the LGBTQ+ scene, it was only a matter of time until both worlds collided in a flurry of fictional sequins. Follow Kitty on Instagram: @kitty_murphy writes or on Twitter: @scribblingink1

About the book

When Fi went to support her best friend’s drag debut, she didn’t imagine a killer would be going to watch it too. And they’re waiting for their grand finale…

Fi McKinnery is overwhelmed with pride, watching her best friend Robyn perform his drag debut as the dazzling Mae B at Dublin’s premier drag club Trash. But the evening is ruined when bitchy young queen Eve Harrington lampoons Mae B’s performance and ruins the show. Eve is unceremoniously evicted from the club, and later that night Fi finds her dead, face down in a flooded gutter.

The police decide it was an accident and the queens are keen to move on as well,  but Fi isn’t so sure. Eve had plenty of enemies with her casual cruelty and many people might have wanted her dead. Fi is determined to uncover the truth, even though her ‘Hagatha Christie’ sleuthing is driving a wedge between her and Robyn, whose star is now rising at TRASH.

Something dark is lurking beneath the feathers, glitter and sequins of Dublin’s drag scene. Fi is determined to protect her friends, even as they distance themselves from her. Can she stop the killer before more people die?

Review

I wonder if Fi realises that supporting and encouraging her friend Robyn to emerge themselves into the world of drag is also a step that will lead to humiliation and death. Is her quest to find a vicious murderer also the beginning of the end of their friendship, even if Fi is only trying to keep her friend safe. Fi has become a hazard to the newly found sanctuary and their community.

It’s interesting to watch Robyn slowly be drawn into the close circle of the drag queens. Home has finally opened its doors, and same embraces same, whilst simultaneously drawing a line between Fi and Robyn. As she investigates the death Robyn takes on a defensive stance and begins to regard Fi as the enemy.

Aside from Robyn escaping the cocoon of societal norms and boundaries, and the journey to face internal and external fears and threats, I found the cracks that appear in the relationship between Fi and Robyn quite deep. Once inseparable and supportive of each other, one of the friends finds themselves fighting to fix the chasm that has appeared between them. I’m sure the question of whether finding the killer is worth throwing their friendship away is one that hovers in the background, and equally whether it is sustainable after Robyn finds a new place to become the inner butterfly that has been waiting to emerge.

It’s a murder mystery, one that fits under the genre heading of crime, but it ventures beyond the vast space all things murder and mayhem encompasses – it’s also a tale of coming-of-age, of coming out, of discovery of self. Perhaps most importantly it’s a story about finding a safe space where you belong and are accepted for each and every facet of your self.

Buy Death in Heels at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Thomas and Mercer, Pub date 1st January 2023. Paperback – £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.