#BlogTour Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes – the 25th Anniversary Edition

‘Twenty-five years ago Rachel Walsh arrived on the literary scene. Funny, sad, headstrong and achingly vulnerable, fun-loving Rachel connected with readers the world over. Ahead of her return in Again, Rachel (17th February 2022), a brand new 25th anniversary edition of Rachel’s Holiday will be released on 9th December 2021.’

Pre-order the sequel – Again, Rachel at Amazon Ukat Waterstones

The 25th celebratory edition will include a new foreword with celebrations from some of Marian’s many fans, including Dawn French, Graham Norton an David Nicholls who reflect on the significance of Rachel’s Holiday since its first publication an what it continues to mean to them today. Buy the 25th anniversary edition of Rachel’s Holiday here

About the Author

Marian Keyes is a phenomenon. As a multi-million copy, internationally bestselling author, she has amassed an army of millions of fans around the world, who have been empowered by her honest portrayal of difficult topics and her relatable characters told with insight, warmth and humour.

As a beloved author herself, Marian is a passionate champion of storytellers everywhere, playing an active role in encouraging new voices. She has been the chair of judges for the Comedy Women in Print prize, a sponsor of the Curtis Brown Creative Marian Keyes scholarship, and most recently ran her own hugely popular Instagram Live series bringing free creative writing courses to thousands of viewers. Marian also uses her position to raise some of the most challenging issues of our time, including addiction, immigration, depression, domestic violence and the Repeal the Eighth campaign.

Both critically acclaimed ad commercially unstoppable, Marian’s fourteenth novel Grown Ups went straight to No.1 in hardback and paperback in four global territories: UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards Audiobook of the Year. In addition to her novels, Marian has written two collections of journalism, as well as been the star of the second series of her hit show Between Ourselves aired on BBC Radio 4 at the start of 2021.

Again, Rachel, the sequel to her ground-breaking novel Rachel’s Holiday, will be Marian’s fifteenth novel. Marian is based in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.

Follow @MarianKeyes on Twitter or @marian_keyes on Instagram, Visit mariankeyes.com

About the book

She’s been living it up in New York City, spending her nights talking her way into glamorous parties before heading home in the early hours to her adoring boyfriend, Luke.

But her sensible older sister showing up and sending her off to actual rehab wasn’t quite part of her plan. She’s only agreed to her incarceration because she’s heard that rehab is wall-to-wall Jacuzzis, spa treatments and celebrities going cold turkey – plus it’s about time she had a holiday.

Saying goodbye to fun and freedom will be hard – and losing the man who might just be the love of her life will be even harder. But will the road to recovery help Rachel learn to love herself, at last?


I bet I’m not the only one who finds it hard to believe it has been a quarter of a decade since this book was first published, and Keyes has certainly published a lot more fantastic books and reads since. What a wonderful way to celebrate her success and the impending release of the sequel to Rachel’s story, than by releasing an anniversary edition.

Rachel is a party girl enjoying life and love to the fullest, right? Her family doesn’t think so, and they are willing to make her confront her issues and her serious addictions in an attempt to save her.

Even though it’s not my first read of this book, I am a great believer in re-reading books at different times in our lives, because our frame of references and lessons in life define the way we experience a read. The person reading this book twenty-five years ago is not the same person who has just read the same book. This can be particularly evident when it’s a poignant book that left an impact in some way. 

A younger person will probably find Rachel’s problems and life very relatable, whereas someone who has been around the block for a few decades will see the possible outcomes and flaws. The charming carefree party girl suddenly becomes the young person struggling to cope.

I am really looking forward to reading the sequel and finding out where Rachel went from here, and indeed where the author decided to take her story. The frank, often hilarious and equally tragic approach combined with Keyes gift of gab and storytelling – is what makes this a story that resonates with many readers regardless of whether of when and how many times they read it.

Buy Rachel’s Holiday at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Penguin – Michael Joseph Books, pub date 9 Dec 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Because of You by Dawn French

It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Because of You by Dawn French and to celebrate the Paperback Publication.

‘An instant bestseller, Dawn French’s game changing fourth novel received an overwhelming response from readers and critics who fell in love with this wise and heart-breaking book. This year Because of You, was selected by a standout jury for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021 longlist, and joins the illustrious list of authors recognised by the prize for their outstanding contribution to women’s literature.’

About the Author

As a writer, comedian and actor, Dawn French has appeared in some if this country’s most loved and cherished shows, including French and Saunders, The Vicar of Dibley, Jam and Jerusalem, Roger and Val Have Just Got In, and more recently, Delicious and The Trouble with Maggie Cole.

Dawn’s first three novels, A Tiny Bit Marvellous, Oh Dear Silvia and According to Yes are all Sunday Times bestsellers. Her number one bestselling memoir, Dear Fatty, was published to critical acclaim in 2008, and Me. You. A Diary, a further number one Sunday Times bestseller in 2018. 

Follow @Dawn_French on Twitter or on Instagram

About the book

At the heart of Because of You, are two very different families, whose lives are suddenly entwined when a baby goes missing. Seventeen years later, the truths begin to roll, and the power of mother-love will be tested to its limits. It is a novel about mothers and daughters, live and loss, mistakes and regrets, identity, and the family bonds that make us who we are. Because of You is a contemporary story, whose cleverly drawn characters are challenged by themselves, each other and the surprising twists and turns of fate.


It’s probably something most women think of if they intend to give birth in a hospital. The what if element, the irrational fear that comes with the maternal hormones. What if something happens to the baby – it gets switched, stolen or something happens during the birth? Nightmares.

For one of the characters the nightmare becomes a reality when her newborn disappears. The loss, the grief and the guilt make her question herself and her relationship with her husband. The story becomes one about relationships between mothers and daughters, nature vs nurture and identity.

A little bit of a Grey’s Anatomy episode vibe going on there – top marks for the drama. It was a little over the top at times, and perhaps veered into certain stereotypes on occasion. Saying that, it does pull on the heartstrings and delve deeply into motherhood, in particular on whether biology and genetics are the most important factors when it comes to being a parent or caring for a child. 

Is it better to be the product of a caring single parent environment or a two parent toxic environment. Does the result justify the means? Is the result an equal opportunity and cast iron predictor of said results? Does Hope empower Minnie by taking away her right to make choices or actually become the accidental oppressor in her grief? 

I think the food for thought element of the read is what makes it a good one. As a reader you question, wonder and perhaps even justify at times. The victim becomes almost irrelevant because the reader is lulled into forgiveness by the nature of her relationship with her other mother.

I have to admit it was a mixed bag for me. It lacked a certain finesse, and I wonder if that was intentional, and the fact the author could have brought it to the table – if she had wanted to do so and yet perhaps chose not to. It is certainly a book I shall be recommending.

Buy Because of You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publication Date 29th April 2021 – Paperback | £8.99 | Penguin Michael Joseph. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Waterstones.

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

This isn’t just your run of the mill psychological thriller. Why not? Well it’s a book by Tudor and she likes to mix her thriller and mysteries with an element of the inexplicable, which in turn often wanders into the genre of horror.

Joe is drawn back to his hometown when he starts receiving emails that reference the disappearance of his sister many years ago when they were both children. It reminds him of the fact that he has scores to settle and perhaps he will finally find out what happened to Annie. Then again maybe he has a fair idea about what happened and just doesn’t want anyone else to come to the same conclusion.

He starts working at his old school as a teacher, which throws him straight into the same kind of debilitating oppressive atmosphere of bullying and intimidation he had to put up with as a kid. History is repeating itself, but this time he isn’t going to sit by and watch it happen.

It also brings back memories of a traumatic event in his life and the disappearance of a second child under similar circumstances makes people start to ask uncomfortable questions again. Is it just a coincidence or is there a bigger plan at stake?

I really enjoyed The Chalk Man by Tudor and highly recommend it if you haven’t read anything by this particular author yet. The story of Annie Thorne may just leave you with nightmares or at the very least a healthy fear of entering underground caves. You just never know what might be waiting there for you. 

It’s so much more than just a psychological thriller. The whole essence of the story is infused with a feeling of menace, a silent threat just waiting to welcome the reader into its inner folds. It surrounds the characters like a soft blanket of mist and even manages to penetrate the pages and draw the reader inside its nefarious web.

Buy The Taking of Annie Thorne at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Michael Joseph; pub date 21 Feb. 2019

Follow @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks

Read my review of The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor.

Tell Me a Secret by Jane Fallon

This is a story about friendship, trust and allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to let someone in. When Holly, a hard-working single mother, gets a well-deserved promotion at work, she believes her colleagues support her wholeheartedly. She isn’t prepared for someone who is determined to try and sabotage her career, her reputation and her life.

It starts with small incidents. Scripts disappear, ideas are stolen and the rumour mill is given a push. Someone is jealous of Holly, despite her earning the right to the promotion. After a while what seems to be a petty disagreement escalates into a vicious battle to destroy Holly.

You know what the sad thing is, what happens in this story is why misogyny and sexism are still rampant in the workplace and why women are still regarded by many as less than a man. Instead of supporting each other the majority of women consider each other rivals and often try to demean each other.

The more positive aspect about this story is the message the author sends about allowing ourselves to look beyond the façade, the protective layers people build around themselves, and most definitely beyond the snide comments and whispered rumours spread without knowing whether they are true or not.

We should always take the time to find out more about our fellow humans. You never know who might be hiding a life full of loneliness, a lifetime of pain or sadness, then again they could just be hiding the fact that they are psychos waiting for their next victim. Sorry, don’t want to put anyone off attempting to connect and form new friendships. Nobody wants to miss out on that sense of camaraderie and special bond, do they? Unless of course it’s your close friend who wants you gone of course. 

I have to say I really enjoyed the ending. I won’t give anything away, but it felt like a weird sense of closure after the vindictive vibe of the storyline. The interactions, characters and dialogue are realistic, which is what makes this a relatable, albeit quite a spiteful read.

Buy Tell Me a Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Penguin (10 Jan. 2019)

Follow @JaneFallon @MichaelJBooks

No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister

no further questionsMcAllister likes to present her readers with moral conundrums. Sometimes it isn’t black or white, and the grey areas can be difficult to navigate.

This time she presents her readers with the worst nightmare for any parent or caregiver, the death of a child. In this case the death of a very young baby at the hands of the mothers sister.

The author doesn’t imply that Martha carries any guilt because she is a working woman and wasn’t looking after Layla herself, but rather because her choice of nanny was perhaps a little laissez faire. I am glad that distinction was made. Working mothers and stay-at-home mothers give themselves and each other enough grief about that, despite the fact they should all be united and stand together as one group.

Martha does feel guilty and inadequate for wanting to spend time away from the stress of a screaming baby, and for needing a moment to herself. Handing off the burden to someone else makes her equally guilty in her own mind.

I figured out the truth fairly early into the read. Although the story is driven towards that moment I actually think the scrutiny paid to both sisters, and their relationship both before and after, is what makes this read so compelling.

Think about it. It’s one thing when a stranger hurts or neglects your child, it’s a whole other ballgame when someone you love and care for causes your child harm. Your sister, your blood. How could she take your child from you? Is there any punishment that can give you any peace or satisfaction as a mother?

I really enjoy the moral dilemmas McAllister comes up with. It makes for a fascinating read, as do her other books. If you haven’t read any of her previous books yet, then I highly recommend you do. Her plots always make for great discussions and moral debates, and this book is no exception.

Buy No Further Questions at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Paperback edition

Publisher: @MichaelJBooks

Follow @GillianMAuthor Visit gillianmcallister.com

Read Anything You Do Say and Everything But the Truth by Gillian McAllister

Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

paper ghostsAt this point I am beginning to think Heaberlin may have the potential to be a really successful serial killer. Just kidding ( or maybe not, lol).

In both Paper Ghosts and Black-Eyed Susans she shows a frighteningly precise insight into the minds of killers capable of the most heinous of crimes.

I can identify with the main character and her reckless plan, as bizarre as that may sound. Not knowing the fate of your sister, child or loved one is sometimes worse than knowing all the possibly gruesome details of their death.

It all comes down to the desperation and the need for closure. Society teaches us to sit back and let the authorities do their job, however the reality is that they don’t have magic wands and can only follow the leads and evidence they are aware of, and it all has to be within the confines of the law. When the dots can’t be connected a high number of criminal cases go unsolved or remain without enough evidence to charge a particular suspect.

Grace has connected her own dots and the pattern that emerges is a scenario in which Carl is a serial killer, and the man who took her sister from her. She decides to revisit the scenes of old crimes to jog memories in the foggy confused mind of this man she believes to be a cruel killer.

She is playing a dangerous game with a man, who appears to be suffering from dementia, and yet at the same time he seems to be plotting the demise of his next victim. One moment he is clear enough to be a threat to her life and that of other unsuspecting victims, and the next he is saving dogs, cats and also Grace.

I loved this read. For one it definitely speaks to the random coincidences we sometimes convince ourselves are real connections, thereby creating false scenarios and accusations. Unfortunately for Grace these possible scenarios are based on circumstantial evidence, as opposed to direct evidence.

Heaberlin knows exactly how to create a feeling of suspense and fear. The kind of fear that creeps up on you from behind. You never know whether Carl is going to kill, maim or disfigure his prey, or be a friendly animal loving old man saving Grace from herself and her inner demons.

Even if it sounds like a cliché, if done correctly this would make a great film. It is a compelling and sinister character-driven read. The whole plot is based solely on the interactions between the two of them and the places they visit together. Haeberlin is a master of the mind-screw, building tension and twisted plots. Paper Ghosts is definitely taking a spot on my favourite books of 2018 list.

Buy Paper Ghosts at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @juliathrillers @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUkBooks

Visit juliaheaberlin.com

Read Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Exhibit Alexandra by Natasha Bell

exhibitThis is a stroke of genius in so many ways, and it throws up some interesting questions about ethics and morality. Also about what society expects from women.

Should art be cruel? Are artists allowed free license to create any piece of work they consider to be art? Even if it causes another person pain?

What shines through without any question is the egomaniacal mindset of the performance artist. Where no betrayal, emotion or action is safe from the narcissistic personality of such an artist.

To be quite frank I’m not sure whether the artist or the audiences who lap these so-called performances up are worse. It is all so en vogue, pretentious and the emperor’s new clothes.

Events or performance art such as a bunch of naked people playing tag in a concentration camp gas chamber. Rhythm 0 by Marina Abramović, a performance during which she placed a rose, a feather, a knife, a gun, and more in front of her. Visitors were invited to poke, prod or do anything they liked to her with the objects. Towards the end of the day the interactions became more violent, she and her clothes were cut and someone even put the gun to her head. Or Mao Sugiyama who underwent elective surgery to remove his genitals, then had them cooked and served at a so-called upscale dinner party. Five paying guests were then allowed to taste them.

These are just a few examples, and regardless of what the artist says their intention is, the convoluted inspiration and the supposed results at the end of the art exhibit, some people think it is a step too far. I count myself as one of those people, especially when you have to hurt others to make your point. Not all performance art is art, the majority of it is just inflated egos seeking attention and wanting to be noticed by the masses.

Alexandra does what is expected of her. She is the doting mother and wife, and does everything to make everyone else happy. She does what most women do, she takes a step back when it comes to her own desires, so her husband can succeed in his career. Society expects it and Marc expects it too.

Her need for the extreme outlet isn’t entirely hidden, she makes really crass decisions and has no problem crossing boundaries, because she doesn’t think there are any. If she did those things with my daughters, even as a friend I wouldn’t have any qualms about calling the police or social services. Apparently the rules don’t apply to Alex, which is probably one of reasons she ends up gone. She puts herself into dangerous situations, and yet never expects any consequences.

I enjoyed the conundrum this story represents, and the discussions it will generate.

Bell isn’t afraid to confront her readers with the ugly truth. Personally I think the premise and the title are extremely clever, in fact the connection between the two didn’t even dawn on me till I had read quite a bit of the story. It’s an accusation and a dissection of society at the same time. What lengths will we go to entertain and to be entertained? Where is the cut-off point? When does exhibition equate to entertainment, and when is it a crime?

This is an innovative read, a cruel read, but it is also an eye-opener.

Buy Exhibit Alexandra at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @byTashB @MichaelJBooks