#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 The Summer Escape by Hannah Ellis

It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Summer Escape by Hannah Ellis, the third book in the Isles of Scilly series.

About the Author

Hannah Ellis spent many years working in childcare before deciding she’d like to write books. When she’s not busy writing she likes to read, drink tea and eat chocolate. She also enjoys yoga and jogging. 

Follow @BooksEllis on Twitter, Insta @authorhannahellis or FB authorhannahellis

About the book

Single-mother Beth desperately needs a break. Grieving the loss of her mother, she sets off to the Isles of Scilly with her five-year-old daughter, Ellie.

Their holiday cottage is utterly charming, but it’s meeting Trystan – the owner of the cottage – that makes Beth’s stay so perfect.

When their holiday fling starts to feel like something more, she knows she’s in trouble. Her life is in Plymouth, while he lives in London. Besides, Trystan has already admitted he’s not ready for a family.

Is he prepared to take a leap of faith for Beth and Ellie? And with the odds stacked against them, can they find a way to make their relationship last beyond the lazy days of summer?

Review

Ellie sort of features as the cheerful and adorable conduit. You can’t help but love her charm, innocence and the way she has no filter, and no trouble letting people in. It makes it easier for those around her, like her mother, to connect with others when their gut instinct is to hesitate and block everyone. An otherwise lost opportunity becomes a possibility instead.

In essence that is the way Beth and Trystan meet, and slowly but surely something grows between them. But it’s a summer holiday, a friendship forged within beautiful surroundings, and a family willing to take both Beth and Ellie in and treat them like part of the family too. That’s one choice and the other is home, friends and family that are waiting for them to return.

It’s a lovely cosy romance with plenty of moments of emotional turmoil – the type any reader could and probably has experienced. Loss, grief, and doubt. Feeling lost and yet having to be the stable anchor for someone you love, in this Beth for her child.

There was a part in the last chapter that felt a little rushed, but then I wondered whether that could possibly be a lead-in for a part in the fourth book in the series. Overall, it’s a pleasant read I would recommend to other readers.

Buy The Summer Escape at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎Hannah Ellis pub date 27 Oct. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour After Dad by Claire Shiells

It’s my turn on the Blogtour After Dad by Claire Shiells.

After the Author

Claire Shiells grew up in rural Northern Ireland during the Troubles where she had the best of times and the worst of times. She calls herself Northern Irish except on St Patrick’s Day when she is inexplicably full on Top-Of-The-Morning-To-You Irish. Claire now lives in London and in her last life (before the longest maternity leave ever) was a journalist and magazine editor. After Dad is inspired by a true event and is her first novel. Follow @claireshiells on Twitter

About the book

A bittersweet love story exploring why good people sometimes do bad things… – Millie Malone, a spirited, thirty-something journalist returns home to Northern Ireland after a life-changing decision leaves her London life in ruins.

A family reunion soon unravels, opening old wounds and igniting new grievances regarding the murder of her father by the IRA decades earlier. Retreating to the family cottage in Donegal, Millie soon meets Finn McFall, a fisherman originally from west Belfast, who loves to paint and recite Irish poetry.

In the new modern Ireland, Millie believes religion is no longer a barrier for love. But she soon finds home is a place still struggling with a fragile peace and simmering sectarianism.

As events unfold, Millie is forced to decide between love and loyalty, eventually having to ask herself the ultimate question: can love really conquer all?

Review

If anything, this story lays bare the fragile hold on the anger, resentment, passion and in general the multitude of complex emotions framed in a tumultuous history, that exists even now in 21st century Ireland. I think in that sense Millie is overly optimistic. Old grievances die hard and there is such a thing as generational trauma.

The trauma she herself has experienced is a little bit like a bomb thrown into the midst of a family, and the shockwaves reverberate decades after. Violent death always leaves scars and living under the umbrella of constant threat of harm or death influences people in a way that is personal to them. No one experience is the same.

In a way I also think the ending of this book speaks to exactly that fragility, and the fact some people are unable to move beyond what they prioritise as more important than more menial things, such as relationships and family. Recognising that is a coming-of-age moment and includes the ability to move as one, as opposed to moving as an entity of a greater idea, ideology or even sense of identity.

I want to give credit to the sub-plot, which in the grand scheme of the story may appear minor but is poignant in its own way. Perhaps because the author addresses a controversial issue, and for a moment there I thought it was going to go a bit right field, in a way that shines a light on how difficult it is for women to make certain decisions and how the world gaslights them by saying it is a lightweight and inconsequential one made out of convenience. Just want to point out that the why is irrelevant, as is the way each individual feels about said choice. None of your business or my business for that matter.

This is a poignant and heartfelt read; I hope to read more by this author in the future.

Buy After Dad at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎The Book Guild; pub date 28 Sept. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard.

About the Author

Joyce Maynard is the author of nine previous novels and five books of nonfiction, as well as the syndicated column, “Domestic Affairs.”

Her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, has been translated into sixteen languages. Her novels To Die For and Labor Day were both adapted for film. Maynard currently makes her home in New Haven, Connecticut. Follow @joycemaynard on Twitter, Visit joycemaynard.com

About the book

In her most ambitious novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard returns to the themes that are the hallmarks of her most acclaimed work in a mesmerizing story of a family—from the hopeful early days of young marriage to parenthood, divorce, and the costly aftermath that ripples through all their lives Eleanor and Cam meet at a crafts fair in Vermont in the early 1970s. 

She’s an artist and writer, he makes wooden bowls. Within four years they are parents to three children, two daughters and a redheaded son who fills his pockets with rocks, plays the violin and talks to God. To Eleanor, their New Hampshire farm provides everything she always wanted—summer nights watching Cam’s softball games, snow days by the fire and the annual tradition of making paper boats and cork people to launch in the brook every spring. If Eleanor and Cam don’t make love as often as they used to, they have something that matters more. Their family.

Then comes a terrible accident, caused by Cam’s negligence. Unable to forgive him, Eleanor is consumed by bitterness, losing herself in her life as a mother, while Cam finds solace with a new young partner.

Over the decades that follow, the five members of this fractured family make surprising discoveries and decisions that occasionally bring them together, and often tear them apart. Tracing the course of their lives—through the gender transition of one child and another’s choice to completely break with her mother—Joyce Maynard captures a family forced to confront essential, painful truths of its past, and find redemption in its darkest hours.

A story of holding on and learning to let go, Count the Ways is an achingly beautiful, poignant, and deeply compassionate novel of home, parenthood, love, and forgiveness.

Review

I can imagine this story will resonate in a completely different way with readers, some will experience this as a tale of the complexities of love, relationships and family dynamics. To others it will be the autopsy of a marriage and of family life.

For me it didn’t evoke feelings of love, nostalgia or understanding, but rather very much the opposite. When a relationship has borne the fruits of many years of intimacy, friendship, love, laughter and birth, slowly disintegrates into ashes made up of resentment and disillusionment – the result can be a harrowing picture. Often that picture is lopsided and misinformed, as it is here.

By protecting her children from the truth of their father, which is the correct, therapeutic and socially acceptable thing to do, you run the risk of being at the short end of the stick. History is then written to report of the angry, scorned woman. The woman who left without reason, and the woman who abandoned the status quo. the woman who causes all discontent and problems in the children of said divorce. How utterly unforgivable, which is mirrored in the way her friends and children treat her. I was angry for her. I know women like her who have sat on the truth for decades to protect the emotions of their children, only to be treated with contempt, whilst the husband and father is lifted up on a pedestal. She has a right to own her anger.

Perhaps the clearest image to emerge is the fact that once you have suckled, pampered, taught and raised your children into adulthood and they decide to treat you with disdain for whatever imagined or real ailment they might have or problem they encounter, then perhaps you have served your obligation to them. Indeed there seems to be a 21st century wave of parental blame that encompasses everything a person may feel or do. 

I really enjoyed it. I thought Maynard had her finger on the pulse of family, especially when it is redefined involuntarily. She paints an accurate picture of the gender inequality when it comes to being a parent, in situations of divorce and in romantic or sexual relationships as one veers beyond the younger years. It’s an excellent read by an observant and skilled writer.  

Buy Count the Ways at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎William Morrow pub date 13 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Come Back to Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Come Back to Me by Daniela Sacerdoti. It’s a contemporary read with elements of magical realism combined with the concept of what family is for each of us. It’s a lovely read.About the Author

Daniela Sacerdoti is a phenomenon. Over one million copies of her novels have been sold in eBook, her debut novel Watch Over me was the 8th bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015 and she was also ranked as the 11th top-selling Kindle author. Daniela writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages. Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school.

Daniela’s children’s book Really Weird Removals.Com was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. She has also written for the BBC. Daniela, her husband and their two sons make their home in a tiny village in the Alps.

To discover more about Daniela and her world, visit www.danielasacerdoti.com.

Follow Daniela on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads,

Buy Come Back to Me

About the book

Three separate lives. Three broken hearts.

Haunted by his wife’s death, Matt arrives on Seal Island determined to be alone and unable to escape his grief.

In the island’s hospital, a young woman named Rose lies in a coma, trapped by the memories of events leading up to her accident.

Grace, the island’s doctor, is at the heart of the community. Only she knows how much she regrets turning down the chance of love and a family years ago.

For these three people hope seems gone. But life is about to offer an unexpected new beginning…

Review

There are many types of reading experiences; the ones that leave you feeling happy, sad or angry. Now and again you get a book that reaches from the pages and takes a piece of you, even if just for a moment.

It may give you a sense of peace, a few seconds of indignation or fill you with rage. It doesn’t really matter what emotion or thoughts linger, but if they do then the author has done their job by extending a hand to invite you inside and you entering their house of words, staying for a while and leaving with some of their powerful words imprinted in your memory forever.

Sacerdoti evokes that kind of magic with her story. It is a perfect fictional exploration of grief, forgiveness, accepting life and the obstacles it throws in your way, and finding your own type of happiness.

This is the third book in the Seal Island series and the focus is on multiple characters who become connected through the island. Matthew is still riddled with guilt after the death of his wife. He welcomes the isolation of and on the island. Grace keeps herself busy to avoid thinking about her all her regrets, about the life and family she should have had. Then there is Fergus and the strained relationship with his teenage daughter, a young girl who feels abandoned and neglected by both parents.

The story of Rose runs alongside the others, but takes place in the past, as we see her navigate the complicated oppressive relationship between herself and her brother.

On the surface that may seem like a normal contemporary story about family, relationships and love, but the author makes it stand out from the crowd by adding a layer of magical realism to the story. It falls over a certain character like a soft, soothing and healing blanket.

It’s a contemporary read with elements of magical realism combined with the concept of what family is for each of us. It’s a lovely read.

Buy Come Back to Me at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Headline in eBook on 1st May and available in paperback original on 25th July. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

I was thrilled when Sarah Morgan announced last year that she would be writing her first book of women’s fiction. Finally she gets to spread her wings and cross boundaries, and most importantly show even more readers ow talented she is. I am delighted to take part in the BlogTour for How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes romance and contemporary women’s fiction and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She is a 3 time winner of the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America and has been nominated five times. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

How to Keep a Secret is Sarah’s first standalone women’s fiction novel, coming to the UK in June and to the US in July 2018!

Follow @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories @HarperCollinsUK on Twitter

On Facebook www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahMorgan

Visit sarahmorgan.com

Buy How to Keep a Secret

About the book

When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise.

Lauren has the perfect life…if she ignores the fact it’s a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.

Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it’s… Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she’s determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.

Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?

Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite…

Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan’s brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.

Review

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here; Sarah Morgan’s first venture into women’s fiction, and I can honestly say it was worth the wait. Finally Morgan has taken a step towards a genre, which will give her the opportunity to show her full potential. Not that she has to prove how talented she is as a writer or storyteller, but this means she has less boundaries fencing her creativity and talent in.

The story is about three generations of the Stewart women, their relationships with each other, and the secrets they keep to make sure they all stay safe. The focus is on Lauren and Jenna, sisters who know each other like the back of their hands or at least they both think they do. The main thing they have in common is a disdain for the mother they both experienced as aloof and neglectful.

Jenna still lives near her childhood home on Martha’s Vineyard. Her whole life revolves around becoming pregnant and having a baby, to the point of putting her marriage on the line. Lauren is trying to deal with her obnoxious teenage daughter and her husband, who seems to be focused on everything other than his family.

Nancy has been keeping her own painful secrets in order to protect her daughters. Then when tragedy strikes in the family she finds herself having to confront her past and her fears in order to heal wounds of the past.

There is an emphasis on the tenuous strings holding people and relationships together, and the way they are easily shattered. Words said in haste, being in the wrong place at the right time and not having the courage to speak out. All things that can change the course of a life.

The author has a very distinctive style when it comes to story-telling. It’s a mixture of pure honest emotion, the intricacies of relationships, and her flair for timing and creating the kind of scenes that tug at your heartstrings.

The story of the Stewart’s is subtle and relatable. It speaks to the mother and daughter relationships we all experience, often struggle with, and yet ultimately are also driven by and flourish because of them. The sisterhood that exists, albeit it often subconsciously, and regardless of whether via blood connection or not, to support each other in times of struggle.

The secrets we keep usually don’t stay buried forever.

It’s a successful and exciting new venture for Morgan, and I hope just the beginning of many more.

Buy How to Keep a Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read The Christmas SistersHoliday in the HamptonsNew York Actually (From Manhattan with Love #4)Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan With Love #3)Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love #2)Sleepless in Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #1)Christmas Ever AfterFirst Time in ForeverMaybe This Christmas, Sleighbells in the SnowSuddenly Last Summer or The Notting Hill Diaries, all by Sarah Morgan.

SarahMorgan_HowKeepSecret_BlogTour.jpg

#BlogTour One Small Thing by Erin Watt

It’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for One Small Thing by Erin Watt today. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride filled with strong characters, right-fighters, and with a young girl at war with the world and herself at the midst of it all.

About the Author

Erin Watt is the brainchild of two bestselling authors linked together through their love of great books and an addiction to writing. They share one creative imagination. Their greatest love (after their families and pets, of course)? Coming up with fun–and sometimes crazy–ideas. Their greatest fear? Breaking up.

Follow @authorerinwatt (brainchild of authors: @JenSFred and @ElleKennedy)

Follow @HQStories and @HarlequinTEEN

Buy One Small Thing

About the book

Their secret could tear everything apart…

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Trapped at home by her over-bearing parents Beth needs to get out. So when she sneaks out to a party and meets the boy everyone’s been talking about she’s shocked by their instant connection, and the part he played in her sister’s death.

A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings become. Beth has a choice to make – follow the rules, or risk ruining what she cares about most.

Review

Grief plays a major role in this story, and the different ways people deal with it or don’t deal with it, as is the case with Beth. Her inability to accept any kind of emotional reaction about her losing her sister becomes the active volcano in the midst of the emotional minefield surrounding her. She has to deal with her parents obsessive need to protect her and their refusal to let Rachel go, the killer and his need to be punished indefinitely for her death, and the community and friends who all have an opinion on how she should react to the tragic event.

Watt makes it easy to understand both sides of the coin, when it comes to Beth and her parents. As a parent you are terrified another child will be taken from you, so your reactions don’t seem over the top or extreme. You can justify any action or rule that will keep your kid safe, right? Simultaneously you have Beth reacting and rebelling against the restrictions, the oppression and the panic that oozes from their every pore. Normal teenage shenanigans become more dangerous and risky, when seen through the lens of the frightened and angry parent.

Everything takes on a more explosive and destructive element when Beth hooks up with a handsome mysterious young man at a party, who later turns out to be the person charged and sentenced for the death of her sister. Beth struggles to satisfy her instinctual attraction to him, whilst pretending to hate him for what he has done to her family. She finds it difficult to juggle what she knows of him with what she experiences when she spends time with Chase.

This author duo certainly knows how to tug on the heartstrings and make the reader feel the intensity of the emotional upheaval the characters go through. The sign of good YA romance is being able to communicate the confusion, passion, anger, sadness and joy of a young person, which is usually all over the place, in a way that makes the reader connect with the characters and the story.

At the same time Watt also subtly weaves important topics like abuse, peer pressure, isolation and child-parent conflicts, into this tapestry of grief and pain. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride filled with strong characters, right-fighters, and with a young girl at war with the world and herself in the midst of it all.

Pre-order/Buy One Small Thing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Published by HQ on 28th June 2018 Paperback £7.99 /

eBook £2.99 pub date 26th June 2018

pub date 26 June 2018 Audio 12.99


About HQ

At HQ we love writers and readers. We publish books we believe will bring pleasure and satisfaction regardless of genre or classification. Our aim is simple. To combine the classic values of readability and quality with a focus on reaching readers directly, while giving writers the support they deserve. HQ is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart

days of wonderI absolutely adored A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart and I have recommended his work quite often, because it is a great read, but also for its emotional and educational value in regards to the topic of autism and a father seeking a connection to his son.

I was genuinely interested to see of he could bring the same kind of emotional inner turmoil and tug-of-war to the table with Days of Wonder.

The answer to that is yes, but in a completely different way. The focus in Days of Wonder is on the relationship between Tom and his daughter Hannah, however the difference is the connection between them is already there. Instead the author explores the difficulty between father and daughter as she comes of age, with the added tragic factor of a future she may never be part of.

The topic of a child with heart disease is one I found easy to relate to. Being told that your child has joined the inner sanctum and group of children suffering from or affected by a terribly frightening disease, especially when it comes out of the blue, is devastating and incredibly traumatic.

Luckily for my child, who was a guinea pig for a new procedure nearly 25 years ago, the medical world had a solution and she is now a healthy young woman. For Tom and Hannah the reality is a lot more dire. They both know that their time together is limited and on a timer.

Tom decided a long time ago to make every birthday Hannah manages to celebrate an event to remember, and there is no limit to his imagination. I loved the ideas he prepared for his child, especially the fairy parade. What a wonderful memory and experience to give to your child. This is the kind of parent Tom is, but he is also a typical father who has trouble letting his beautiful caged bird fly and experience the world for herself.

Days of Wonder is an ode to the relationships between fathers and daughters. The majority of stories focus on mother and daughter bonds or dysfunctional family relationships, which makes this a refreshing change of tempo and a smorgasbord of emotions.

Stuart manages to change a tragedy into a warm, heartfelt coming-of-age story. He portrays the father as a man willing to go to any length to ensure his daughter experiences each moment to the fullest, even when she decides it is time to cut the cord between them. Kudos to the author for giving Days of Wonder the ending it deserved, and not falling prey to the scenario some readers may want to see, as opposed to the brutal reality it needed.

Keith Stuart offers up his heart, mind and part of his soul, which is part of his style and it’s what makes his books so memorable. He invites the reader to sit down at the table with his characters and become part of the family. At the end of Days of Wonder you may just see the fairies dancing in your garden at night too, and that is the magic Stuart creates.

Buy Days of Wonder at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Published by Little Brown Books Uk 7th June 2018

Follow @keefstuart @LittleBrownUK

Follow boymadeofblocks.tumblr.com

Read A Boy Made Of Blocks

The Betrayals by Fiona Neill

the betrayalsI think I might put this book on my list of favourites for this year. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and yet at the same time it was.

I don’t even think the betrayals are the driving force in this story. The deterioration of Daisy, the codependency of her brother Max, and of course the triggers, they are what propel the story forward with quite a lot of force.

First of all kudos to the author for the in depth research and description of the obsessive compulsive disorder. It controls and rules Daisy, her life and to a certain extent the lives of those around her. Like many other disorders, it has become somewhat of a blasé throwaway phrase that people mention in a jokey kind of way. The truth is it can control and take over your entire life, and indeed people who suffer from severe OCD are often unable to cope with the demands of everyday life, due to their condition.

I enjoyed the perfect imperfections of the characters and the story. In general life isn’t an ice cream sundae with a cherry on top. It tends to be more like a melted mess that drips faster than you can eat it.

The lives of two families are changed forever when Nick and Lisa decide that lust is stronger than loyalty. Their spouses and children are less than thrilled. In fact Daisy believes their betrayal is the trigger for her OCD and every other problem in her life. To be more specific she believes Lisa is the root cause of her problems, and what Daisy thinks Max thinks too.

It’s interesting how Daisy suffers from selective memory and fixates on her father and his mistress. Memory and in particular false memories and the way our brain works in relation to memories is Nick’s speciality, which makes some aspects of the plot all the more ironic.

It really is an engrossing read, perhaps more so because the complete disintegration of families and relationships is so commonplace, and it leaves many victims in its wake. Neill writes a compelling plot with relatable characters.

Buy The Betrayals at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.