#Blogtour From Far Around They Saw Us Burn by Alice Jolly

‘The highly anticipated first short story collection from the author of the Folio Prize-shortlisted Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile.’

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour From Far Around They Saw Us Burn by Alice Jolly.

About the Author

Alice Jolly is a novelist and playwright. She won the 2014 V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize with one of her short stories, ‘Ray the Rottweiler’, and her memoir Dead Babies and Seaside Towns won the 2016 PEN Ackerley Prize. She has published two novels with Simon & Schuster – What the Eye Doesn’t See and If Only You Knew – and four of her plays have been produced by the professional company of the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. 

Her novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile, published by Unbound in 2018, was longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize and shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize. Her latest novel, Between the Regions of Kindness, was published by Unbound in 2019. In 2021, Jolly was awarded an O. Henry Prize for her short story ‘From Far Around They Saw Us Burn’. She lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Follow @jollyalice on Twitter

About the book

This collection contains works such as ‘Ray the Rottweiler’, which won the 2014 V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, and ‘From Far Around They Saw Us Burn’, which in 2021 received an O. Henry Prize, the US’s most prestigious short story award. 

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn is the eagerly awaited first short story collection from Alice Jolly, one of the most exciting and accomplished voices in British fiction today. The extraordinary range of work gathered here is united by a fascination with how everyday interactions can transform our lives in unpredictable ways. These are stories of lonely people, outcasts and misfits, and the ghosts that inhabit our intimate spaces. The result is a compelling, arresting and, at times, devastating collection – not least in the title story, which was inspired by the tragic true events of the 1943 Cavan orphanage fire. 

Written with an exemplary eye for detail and an intimate understanding of the complexities of human nature, Jolly’s collection builds up towards the ultimate question: what is revealed of us when we peel away the surfaces, and is it enough?


This is a novella length book of short stories, fifteen stories. Multiple variations on situations where humans are disappointing and flawed, simultaneously brow beaten into submission by societal norms.

I think it’s the clarity the author offers the reader, especially when presented with a certain perspective or rather the preferred perspective. Chipping away at the frivolous, and perhaps often misleading facts to hide the guilt. Although in the last story there is probably not an inch of guilt by hands who feel they are the voice of morality. The story even more tragic and scathing as it’s told from the viewpoint of the victims.

It’s an intriguing combination of short stories, which are like small microcosms of kodak moments in time. They pull you in in such a visceral way that it is hard to believe they are but brief moments to experience. I would definitely buy longer works by this author.

Buy From Far Around They Saw Us Burn at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in Hardback by Unbound on 30th March, 2023 for £18.99 and eBook for £9.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour A Hundred Years to Arras by J.M. Cobley

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour A Hundred Years to Arras by J.M. Cobley.

About the Author

J. M. Cobley was born in Devon of Welsh parents and now lives in Warwickshire with his wife and daughter. Jason studied English Language and Literature at university and is currently Head Teacher at a hospital school in Coventry.

Jason is otherwise known for his work writing scripts for the long-running Commando comic and graphic novel adaptations of classics such as Frankenstein and An Inspector Calls, as well as the children’s novel The Legend of Tom Hickathrift. Jason also hosts a weekly show on Radio Abbey in Kenilworth, where he indulges his passion for classic and progressive rock. The central character of A Hundred Years to Arras is based on his relative Robert Gooding Henson. Follow @JasonMCobley on Twitter, Visit jmcobley.wordpress.com

About the book

On a painful, freezing Easter Monday in 1917, Private Robert Gooding Henson of the Somerset Light Infantry is launched into the Battle of Arras. Robert is twenty-three years old, a farmer’s boy from Somerset, who joins up against his father’s wishes. Robert forms fast friendships with Stanley, who lied about his age to go to war, and Ernest, whose own slippery account betrays a life on the streets. Their friendship is forged through gas attacks, trench warfare, freezing in trenches, hunting rats, and chasing down kidnapped regimental dogs. Their life is one of mud and mayhem but also love and laughs.

This is the story of Robert’s journey to Arras and back, his dreams and memories drawing him home. His story is that of the working-class Tommy, the story of thousands of young men who were caught in the collision between old rural values and the relentlessness of a new kind of war. It is a story that connects the past with the present through land, love and blood.


I wonder what Private Robert Gooding Henson of the Somerset Light Infantry would think if he read this thoughtful, emotional homage to his life and death. Cobley has captured the essence of the nostalgia, the fear, the hopes and what the possible journey towards the end could have been like for Robert, and simultaneously a small part of the horror of the Great War. Even that small part suffices to give readers an idea of the impact war had on those serving their country, the people caught in the middle and of course the loved ones waiting at home for the inevitable.

The story moves smoothly between past, present, real and imagined. The fragility of the body and soul, when confronted with the worst aspect of humanity. The damage caused by warfare and the lack of understanding, compassion and of course medical research in regards to shellshock and PTSD. Men were considered weaklings, and of course that includes the ultimate crime of being a coward. Too many men were slaughtered by firing squads for simply being afraid or cracking under the pressure of war. A firing squad served as a warning to others, but it also destroyed the morale and mental health of the soldiers.

I think this is a wonderful way to remember the many fallen and returned. Robert’s story is one of many and although the author does due diligence when it comes to remembering and paying respect, this is a heartwarming and gently woven tribute to both him and others.

Buy A Hundred Years to Arras at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Unbound Digital pub date 19 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Dolly Considine’s Hotel by Eamon Somers

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Dolly Considine’s Hotel by Eamon Somers.

About the Author

Eamon Somers was born and grew up in inner city Dublin. He was a campaigner and spokesperson for Ireland’s fledgling lesbian and gay rights movement in the early 1980s. During the economic downturn he was made redundant and, having moved to London, spent two years working in Haringey’s Lesbian and Gay Unit until Clause 28 and Council Tax cuts sent him into the charity housing sector where he continues to work.

Eamon’s story Spring in the Country won the Carmarthen short story  competition sponsored by BBC Wales. Other stories have been published in Chroma, Tees Valley Writer, and ABC Tales. Eamon is a graduate of the certificate in creative writing at Birckbeck College London – the forerunner of the current MA. He is the father of three wonderful children. He and his Civil Partner (Tomás) are very proud of their three-year-old grandson Daragh. 

Follow @mustbeeamon on Twitter, Visit eamonsomers.com

About the book

Julian Ryder (aka Paddy Butler) is an eighteen-year-old aspiring writer fleeing a life unlived. Dolly McClean (née Considine) is knee-deep in running a hotel populated by family secrets and Irish republicans. They seem to have little in common – until Julian rescues Dolly’s barmaid-cum-cleaner from a supposed IRA thug. It doesn’t take long for him to embroil himself in the gossip of the bar and the guests’ bedsheets. Dolly and her entourage quickly become fodder for his literary ambitions and soon it becomes impossible to extricate reality from fantasy…

Moving fluidly between the 1950s of Dolly’s youth and Julian’s 1980s summer of unrequited love, Irish recession and emigration, the hotel becomes a stage for farce and tragedy. As statues give birth to fully grown men while swordwielding Irish dancers perform for party politicians, Julian’s fictions, Dolly’s secrets and political intrigue threaten to tear them and Ireland itself apart in the run up to the Pro-life Constitutional Amendment of September 1983.


Okay, there is a lot to unpack here and unfortunately I can’t do that to the extent I would like to because it would spoil the read for others. I absolutely think this is the kind of story readers return to and in doing so discover hidden nuances and perhaps parts of the story that flow quietly alongside, whilst the other storylines and characters march pounding through the pages.

One of those marchers, rebels, voices of resistance and change, is of course Dolly herself. A woman, much like many other in the world, who is defined by what profits and pleasures others, as opposed to the changes she is trying to invoke. Take away the hotel for instance and make Dolly a 24/7 stay at home mammy who has played her part in political change or skirmishes, and you will find she will always be defined by the term mammy and housewife. It’s this inequality of perception due to gender, well it really burns and enrages Dolly. Just how much, and what type of hardened steel she is made of, is evident in the last few chapters

The story itself is an interesting conundrum of fact, fiction, truths and misconceptions. No matter who takes on the role of narrator they are usually unreliable. With a wee bit of a Hotel New Hampshire vibe, which is taken up a notch to mirror the political hot cauldron of the times, the story also questions the boundaries of artistic licence.

Somers delivers a deep multi-layered piece with an avant-garde approach when it comes to the style. I enjoyed it. I have left my review blank of the majority of details, so readers can experience it as unbiased as possible.

Buy Dolly Considine’s Hotel at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Unbound Digital pub date 8 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour In Other Words edited by Mainspring Arts

An anthology of lively and imaginative short fiction by eight autistic writers, with a foreword by David Mitchell and introduction by Joanne Limburg. It’s my turn on the BlogTour  In Other Words edited by Mainspring Arts.

About the Author

Mainspring Arts, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to making the arts inclusive, diverse, and accessible to all, was founded in 2015 by Katya Balen and Miranda Prag. They were frustrated by the lack of diversity in the arts, where neurotypical and non-disabled actors or writers frequently assume the roles or voices of neurodivergent people, or those with disabilities. Katya and Miranda  believe those people should be able to tell their own stories, and Mainspring Arts exists to help them do it. Follow @mainspring_arts on Twitter

About the book

A shift in the nature of light reveals an eighth colour in the visible spectrum. A boy befriends the last tree in the natural world. A single mother finds help at the darkest point of her life. A young man finds himself trapped in a university overrun by crows.

These stories and more form In Other Words, an anthology as diverse as the writers themselves. Some cover trauma, societal issues and stigma; others offer fragments of hope and light. Some reach back in time while others transport us to another dimension altogether. There is heartbreak, wit, humour, poignancy and above all a mastery of the imagination.

What these transcendent stories share is that they were created by autistic writers, people often dismissed as unimaginative or incapable of creativity – a myth that has persisted for generations. This collection hopes to shatter those stereotypes, those misconceptions and misunderstandings, and the perception that one must be neurotypical to be afforded a voice in the arts.


The introduction makes a valid point. The majority of successful books and screen versions of autism are written by non-autistic individual. These stories are written by autistic writers. The difference is vast, the first describing the experience from the outside as an observer and the second writing as a first-hand experiencer.

This contains eight stories: A Conversation of Sparrows Jon Adams, Standard Candles – Damian Sawyer, Light Revolution – J.B. Whiskey, The Crows – Kate Roy, The Last Tree – Sarah, The Clockmaker – Esther Lowery, The Beach House – Luke Matthews and Winona the Angelic Wizard – Richard Baskett.

I think Mainspring are on to something here. It breaks boundaries and threatens to dispel the many myths society has about art and writing as it is visualised and interpreted by society, and especially how its perceived as created by autistic artists and authors.

It’s a fascinating book with equally captivating stories. I think it’s one of those scenarios where you read the stories as you would any other then add on another layer of perception. The speculative element takes on another dimension.

Buy In Other Words at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Unbound pub date 24 Jun. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Embers by Josephine Greenland

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Embers by Josephine Greenland.

About the Author

Josephine Greenland is a Swedish–English writer from Eskilstuna, Sweden. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham and a BA in English from the University of Exeter. She is the winner of the 2019 Bumble Bee Flash Fiction Competition by Pulp Literature, the 2017 Fantastic Female Fables Competition by Fantastic Books Publishing, and also the runner-up in the 2018 Summer Solstice Competition by Wild Words. 

Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Dream Catcher, Literary Yard, Soft Cartel Mag, Plum Tree Tavern, Porridge Magazine, Litro and AHF Magazine. She has also been highly commended in competitions by TSS Publishing and Cinnamon Press. In 2017, she was awarded the Young Writer’s Bursary by Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival.

In August 2019, Josephine began a PGDE course at the University of Edinburgh to become a Secondary English teacher. When not writing or teaching, she enjoys playing the violin, running and hiking. Embers is her first novel and was written during her MA course. It is based on her own travels in northern Sweden two years ago with her brother. 

Follow @greenland_jm on Twitter, Visit linktr.ee/josephinegreenland

About the book

Two siblings, one crime. One long-buried secret.17-year-old Ellen never wanted a holiday. What is there to do in a mining town in the northernmost corner of the country, with no one but her brother Simon – a boy with Asperger’s and obsessed with detective stories – for company?

Nothing, until they stumble upon a horrifying crime scene that brings them into a generations-long conflict between the townspeople and the native Sami.

When the police dismiss Simon’s findings, he decides to track down the perpetrator himself. Ellen reluctantly helps, drawn in by a link between the crime and the siblings’ own past. What started off as a tedious holiday soon escalates into a dangerous journey through hatred, lies and self-discovery that makes Ellen question not only the relationship to her parents, but also her own identity


Ellen is reluctant to take a holiday and even more reluctant to take her brother Simon with her. The trip becomes a journey into the past and a forest of lies. It also becomes a journey to solve a grotesque crime, a crime which is connected to their own heritage – they just don’t know it yet. The attempts to cover up a crime and pervert the course of justice are a something Simon can’t and won’t accept.

I find it interesting how both the existence and treatment of the Sámi people remain something akin to a dirty secret. The Scandinavian societies are generally perceived as forward thinking and modern in certain areas, and also often held up as examples for the rest of Europe.

The truth is that they have their fair share of problems that are kept nice and quiet, including the history of the mistreatment of their indigenous people. Unfortunately the systemic racism, irrational hatred and attempt to ignore their historical importance is still prevalent. Instead of gaining insight into the past, heritage and the mystical link they have with their surroundings – Scandinavians (not all) choose to treat the Sámi people with contempt. 

I truly hope Greenland revisits this riveting sleuthing duo and writes another book featuring the siblings. The combination of the reluctant older sister, the younger brother with a lack of impulse control and their crime solving seen through the lens of a someone with Asperger’s, really makes for a great read.

Buy Embers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Unbound Digital pub date 18 Mar. 2021. Buy at Amazon com

#BlogTour Into The Mouth of the Lion by A.B. Kyazze

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Into the Mouth of the Lion by A.B. Kyazze.

About the Author

A.B. Kyazze is a British-American writer and photographer. She spent more than 18 years writing and taking photographs in humanitarian crises across the globe in Africa, Asia and the Balkans. Into the Mouth of the Lion is her debut novel. She recently published short stories in The Great Lakes Review, Byte the Book and The National Anthology of Flash Fiction 2019 (UK). She also writes book reviews and articles, and teaches creative writing classes for children. Follow @abkwriting on Twitter

About the book

Angola, 2002. In the last days of a vicious civil war, it is a dangerous landscape rife with rebel soldiers, land mines, corruption and deception. A suspicious explosion kills a beloved nurse, while another humanitarian worker goes missing.

Lena Rodrigues, a young photographer, flies out to Angola’s highlands to piece together the reasons behind her sister’s disappearance. But will she have the strength to bear witness to the truth, before she gets entangled in the country’s conflict for minerals and power?


Lena, in all of her privileged naiveté, doesn’t really have any idea what she has let herself in for by flying halfway across the globe to look for her sister in Angola. To the team on the ground, DJ’s team, she is a liability for exactly that reason. 

DJ is more of a fleeting image or a mirage in the book. Now and again the reader gets a short chapter or paragraph of her emotional state of mind and where she is headed, but no idea when that happened and if she is still safe. The death of her friend has caused a breakdown in communication – her grief has made her an uncontrollable variable.

Kyazze creates this fictional story around the factual events of the brutal Angolan Civil war or the tail-end of the unrest. The more personal fractious relationship between two sisters is indicative of the many stories that go unheard in war zones, especially ones driven with such brutality and frenzy of opposing forces.

Kudos to the author for the way she approached the character of DJ and the way she takes part in the story. The dipping in, the almost lyrical moments that are anonymous in a sense that the reader knows but there is a lack of direct reference to whom the scenes refer. It creates this beauty and fragile moments in the midst of the reality of what is taking place with Lena and the team.

Definitely a book I would recommend, certainly an author I would like to read more by.

Buy Into the Mouth of the Lion at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Unbound Digital pub date 6 May 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Cut From the Same Cloth? Muslim Women on Life in Britain edited by Sabeena Akhtar

It’s my turn on the Blogtour Cut From the Same Cloth? Muslim Women on Life in Britain edited by Sabeena Akhtar

About the Authors

Sabeena is a writer, editor and the Festival Coordinator of Bare Lit, the UK’s principal festival celebrating remarkable writers in the diaspora. She is also the co-founder of the Primadonna Festival which spotlights the work of women writers, and of Bare Lit Kids. She will be available for events around publication, and can be found tweeting at @pocobookreader

Essays by:

Dirty Melanin, Precious Melanin: Bilal was Black by Negla Abdalla, Arabic Speaking: Liberal Racism and Translating by Fatima Ahdash, Smile and Introduction by Sabeena Akhtar, Youth in the Time of Madrassahs by Mariam Ansar, Grenfell by Shaista Aziz in conversation with Zahra Adams, A Cartography of Motherhood by Suma Din, Covid 19 and Recalibrating my Ramadhan Reality by Khadijah Elshayyal, The Quest for Modesty in the Digital Age by Ruqaiya Haris, So Can I Talk  to Guys Now? by Fatha Hassan, Ticking the Intelligence Box by Raisa Hassan; Riot, Write, Rest: On Writing as a Muslimah by Sumaya Kassim, Growing into Hajib by Rumana Lasker Dawood, I am Not an Answer I am the Question by Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Hidden by Asha Mohamed, The Gift of Second-Sight by Sofia Rehman, The Global Revolution of Hijab by Yvonne Ridley,  4,091 Miles away from Home by Aisha Rimi, Racial Perceptions by Khadijah Rotimi, On Therapy by Sophie Williams and Waiting to Exhale by Hodan Ysuf.

About the book

Do you wear that at home? Where are you really from? Does he make you wear that? Do you support acts of terror? Do you believe in ‘British values’? Can I see your hair? Do you have equality? Are you hot in that? Can you be a feminist? Why don’t you just take it off? Do you wear that in the shower? Are you oppressed?

Whether it’s awkward questions, radical commentators sensationalising their existence, non-Muslims and non-hijabis making assumptions, men speaking on their behalf, or tired stereotypes being perpetuated by the same old faces: hijabis are tired. Cut from the Same Cloth? seeks to tip the balance back in their favour, with the space to offer honest insight into the issues that really affect their lives.

Here, twenty-one middle and working class contributors of all ages and races look beyond the tired tropes, exploring the breadth of their experiences and spirituality. It’s time we, as a society, stopped the hijab-splaining and listened to the people who know.


Wow. Where to start? First of all this book and other books that give voice to underrepresented demographics in the book world and in general, should be mandatory reading in an educational setting. 

Not just for girls, because the assumption will be of course that these women speak to be heard by other women or girls, but also boys and men. The boys and men, due to their preordained path in white colonial patriarchal societies, which will be one that teaches misogyny, oppression and systemic racism as the norm. The girls and women also because of the aforementioned, but also for their chance to read words that aren’t cemented in the cynicism of Western feminism, gender oppressive regimes and patronising systems that hold them back instead of catapulting them forward.

And I say that fully aware of my white privilege and that the above words can be spoken, written and debated freely at any time, due to said privilege. Also knowing – let there be no misunderstanding about the following – that the contributors do not need my approval, my acknowledgement of their powerful words or indeed need me to tell the world how eye-opening their essays are.

Indeed my biggest problem with this book is that each essay is deserving of its own review and similarly each author deserving of equal accolades.

It’s a book that has many passages I highlighted, so many quotes I would gladly use and refer back to. In an ideal world the opportunity to hear these women speak in person, talk to each other and to their readers would be an extremely fascinating learning experience.

We are cut from the same cloth, however depending on our skin colour and circumstances that cloth is not treated with the same care when washed, not styled with the same equality or opportunity, and not perceived, embraced or acknowledged in the same way. That’s a fact the majority still doesn’t comprehend or the privilege that comes with the same lack of comprehension.

These essays and this book are a sharp sword of intellect, wielded by women who shouldn’t have to work ten times as hard to be heard. Your words do not fall on deaf ears.

Buy Cut From the Same Cloth? Muslim Women on Life in Britain at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Unbound pub date 27 May 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Trinity by Patrick Morgan with David Kidger

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Trinity by Patrick Morgan with David Kidger.

About the Author

Patrick and David’s first collaboration, the ‘Sega Star’ was published, by them, on A4 plain paper, at the tender age of 10. David got though university, worked for the BBC online, before starting his own web design company. Patrick abandoned his pitiful academic endeavours at 19 to work as a support engineer and designer in Indycar and Formula 1.

Years later both were running their respective businesses, David’s in user experience and interface design, Patrick’s in Historic Motorsport or ‘seeing what everyone else did’ as he calls it. Reunited over a long promised pint they talked childhood, Transformers and Starcom. It’s a fact that boys love spaceships and robots, both had stabs at novels in the past so writing together sounded like fun. Patrick worked with Jade Gurss on his highly rated book ‘Beast’ in 2014, among other motorsport and technical books and loved every moment of it.

Patrick does words, illustrations and some ideas. David does ideas, mostly the bigger ones.

About the book

A planet slowly rotates, one side perpetual sunlight the other perpetual darkness. Between these two sides lies the Divide, and the ancient city of Skala, the seat of humanity’s high council. Skala is slipping inexorably west from the divide into the harsh desert of Hellinar and to its death.

Over 1000km east, another city is on the verge of its birth, created with the aid of two ancient artificial intelligence cores. When one of the cores goes missing, a series of revealing events triggers, hinting at something rotten, and deeply linked to the founding of the new city. The loss of the core can’t be kept under wraps forever – soon a plan is put into place – forcing the rapid completion of an advanced exploratory vehicle that may be the only hope of a recovery. 

Trinity is a story of family, forgotten history, advancing technology and a twisting series of events. Follow a collection of rich characters on interconnecting paths to re-discover the truth about their small, isolationist civilisation – and something far bigger than any of them could have imagined…


Nice one. Speculative science fiction fantasy with dare I say it…perhaps even a dollop of a dystopian flair. I have to say sci-fi and/or fantasy often loses out on readers when it comes to demographics that pull the masses, because it often gets too complex, technical and even outlandish in its speculation. When an author/s manages to crack that particular nut by being able to pull those readers into the middle of the vortex of complexity and a good round of grey cell smashing, then by golly they have done their job.

When it comes to reviewing the content this is one of those books where the little details give away a lot – I can imagine other reviewers feeling the same way. It’s perhaps better to experience the story in its entirety without the prior knowledge of a previous reader.

Side-note: I would like a whole Q&A with HEX and ROOT – (forget the authors I just want access to those who have the answers).

I haven’t read anything as innovative since Brown brought us the Red Rising series. I really can’t wait to see where this series goes, although I have to admit I am a wee bit invested in HEX and ROOT. The human element drives the story, but the two enigmas are just a fount of knowledge, intrigue and they are the very core of this book – the first in the series.

The concept is brought alive by the intricate detailed maps, pictures and descriptions. Given how intense and vast the world-building is, this is an added bonus for readers. I am looking forward to the next book.

Buy Trinity at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Unbound Digital; pub date 29 April 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Song by Michelle Jana Chan

It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Song by Michelle Jana Chan.

About the Author

Michelle Jana Chan is an award-winning journalist and travel editor of Vanity Fair in the UK, where she presents the magazine’s digital Future Series. Formerly, Michelle was a BBC TV presenter, a news producer at CNN International and a reporter at Newsweek. She was a Morehead-Cain scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Follow @michellejchan on Twitter, on Instagram, Visit michellejanachan.comBuy Song

About the book

Song is just a boy when he sets out from Lishui village in China. Brimming with courage and ambition, he leaves behind his impoverished broken family, hoping he’ll make his fortune and return home. 

Chasing tales of sugarcane, rubber and gold, Song embarks upon a perilous voyage across the oceans to the British colony of Guiana, but once there he discovers riches are not so easy to come by and he is forced into labouring as an indentured plantation worker.

This is only the beginning of Song’s remarkable life, but as he finds himself between places and between peoples, and increasingly aware that the circumstances of birth carry more weight than accomplishments or good deeds, Song fears he may live as an outsider forever.

This beautifully written and evocative story spans nearly half a century and half the globe, and though it is set in another century, Song’s story of emigration and the quest for an opportunity to improve his life is timeless.


This is the story of a young Chinese boy who believes it is his duty to take care of his family after the death of his father. His childhood is swallowed up by this fierce need to fulfill said duty, which at some point is exchanged with a determination to survive and then to take care of his own family.

There is something Song’s mother says in the first few chapters and Song then later admits to himself in the last chapters – it’s an incredibly poignant moment. It’s actually something that connects Song with nearly every person who leaves their entire world behind to find something else or better in life, even those who don’t take their paths willingly.

His mother knows, but it takes Song ages to realise she is right. It takes the threat of loss, the acknowledgement of what is really important, missed opportunities and that those on pedestals tend to stumble off them quite regularly.

It’s a beautifully lyrical at times, despite the more difficult moments. I really liked the last few pages and had to read them again just to make sure. The characters need to be given more depth, let’s see below the surface and not just wander on the periphery of poignant. The pain of his situation as a young migrant child, the trouble and not just the happy. Also to not try and out-intellect your audience, because sometimes it means some of said audience will completely miss the point. Chan clearly has the kind of story in her that readers will not easily forget.

Buy Song at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Unbound pub date 18 Mar. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Note to Boy by Sue Clark

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Note to Boy by Sue Clark.

About the Author

Sue Clark has grilled John Humphreys, quipped with Ronnie Corbett, danced with one James Bond and had a one-sided conversation with another, and penned funny lines for the likes of Lenny Henry, June Whitfield, Roy Hudd and David Jason.

She’s been a BBC radio and TV comedy scriptwriter on such shows such as Alas Smith and Jones, Weekending, The News Huddlines and The Jason Explanation, a copywriter, a PR, a journalist, a magazine editor, a writer of guidebooks, a secretary and was, briefly, paid to read books all day long for a film producer. And now she’s written a novel.

Follow @SueClarkAuthor on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit sueclarkauthor.comBuy Note to Boy

About the book

Eloise is an erratic, faded fashionista. Bradley is a glum but wily teenager.

In need of help to write her racy 1960s memoirs, the former ‘shock frock’ fashion guru tolerates his common ways. Unable to remember his name, she calls him Boy. Desperate to escape a brutal home life, he puts up with her bossiness and confusing notes.

Both guard secrets. How did she lose her fame and fortune? What’s he scheming – beyond getting his hands on her bank card? And just what’s hidden in that mysterious locked room?


What could a teenager with an attitude and an elderly woman who is incapable of looking after herself have in common? It doesn’t seem like a lot. Bradley wants the job because he is on a long road to nowhere and helping Eloise could lead to an opportunity. Helping her to write an autobiography of sorts gives him a chance to get to know the woman behind the mood swings, the erratic behaviour and he then sees the eccentric fashion icon with entirely different eyes.

I have to say that I didn’t experience this as a read full of comedic moments, but rather one full of poignant realistic moments. However I can absolutely picture this on the screen, and I hope someone sees the potential in this – The Lady in the Van kind of eccentricity coupled with a young man trying to grip the one possible straw that might take him out of his set-in-stone future of violence and deprivation.

Also the subtle note of white privilege and covert racism that is woven into the tale. It solidifies the the differences between the odd couple. The almost colonialist comments from Eloise and the teenager with a lack of education and nearly no chance of achieving anything other than a life in crime. Moments that can be overcome.

I really enjoyed this story, perhaps because it was easy to picture both main characters so well. Eloise is an excellent example of the loophole of invisibility the elderly vanish into, even when they have made their mark on the world. Even after spending their youth and primary years being successful or in the case of Eloise becoming a part of fashion history.

Clark hits exactly the right notes when it comes to the complex relationship between Bradley and Eloise. The trust issues, the need to protect and simultaneously the more selfish motivation Bradley is driven by. This is an excellent social commentary.

Buy Note to Boy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound Digital pub date 23 July 2020. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Unbound.