#BlogTour It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

 

If you haven’t heard any whispers about this book or come across it somewhere then it is my pleasure to introduce you to It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell. I am also thrilled to host a brilliant Q&A with Michele Campbell today. Enjoy!

About the Author

Michele Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School and a former federal prosecutor in New York City who specialized in international narcotics and gang cases.

A while back, she said goodbye to her big-city legal career and moved with her husband and two children to an idyllic New England college town a lot like Belle River in IT’S ALWAYS THE HUSBAND. Since then, she has spent her time teaching criminal and constitutional law and writing novels.

She’s had many close female friends, a few frenemies, and only one husband, who – to the best of her knowledge – has never tried to kill her.

Follow @MCampbellBooks @HQStories Visit michelecampbellbooks.com

Buy It’s Always the Husband

About the book

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump. How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

Q&A

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms would like to know). I’ll answer with the book I’m currently reading, because it’s SO good that I can’t think of anything else at the moment.  The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, which is the story of two sisters in occupied France, and so vivid that I feel I’m living it. I am toying with the idea of writing historical fiction. It’s inspiring to see an author make the past come alive so completely.

Books or authors who have inspired you to put pen to paper? The best way to learn to write is to read, so why not read the greats? I have always drawn inspiration from the classic authors I studied in high school and college, authors like Edith Wharton, Scott Fitzgerald, George Eliot, Jane Austen, and Henry James. Not because they wrote great “literature”, but because their stories were compelling and accessible and always featured the best, most nuanced characters.  Their work thrills, inspires, elevates, educates — but also can’t be put down. In more recent times, you see this in the writing of authors like Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and many more.  I’m not by any means trying to compare my writing to theirs, but you asked who inspired me, so….

The last book you read which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet…you name it)? Lol, wallet-wise, it’s definitely the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  I love a rollicking time-travel romance — who doesn’t?  I read all the books, then when I heard the tv series was coming I had to subscribe to the cable network that was showing it just to watch that one show.  A pretty penny, but worth it.

Are you more of a movie night or series-binger kind of person?  A series-binger, utterly.  When there’s a great film out there I will make an effort to get out and see it, but in recent times I feel that the most interesting, suspenseful, character-driven stories, and the ones that most speak to me as a female reader, are to be found on television.  Film has become very focused on super-heroes, hardware and special effects. In the past year I have devoured quite a few wonderful series from tv, including Big Little Lies, The Crown, Stranger Things, Outlander (a favorite book series of mine as well), Game of Thrones and others.

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet ?Henry the VIII or any of his wives, so I can pick up plot tips for a sequel to It’s Always the Husband. 😉

You explore the depth of friendship and loyalty in your story. A topic, which I think will resonate with many readers.

In relation to that and the events in the book I think the most obvious question is whether Kate, Aubrey and Jenny really are friends or are they just acquaintances of convenience? Both.  They came together at a very intense and vulnerable moment in their lives, when they’d just started at university.  Each girl has her own issues and problems that come to the forefront in the first year.  Because of this, they bonded in a way they never would at any other time.  That friendship, and co-dependency (your term, but a very accurate one), was real.  They turned to each other, and there were moments when they genuinely loved one another.  But the glue that comes from shared values and experiences was lacking.  They were always susceptible to turn on one another in a pinch, and, well, you see the results.

I am really interested in the inspiration for this story. Is it based on personal experiences, life in general or just a fictional war of friendships and betrayal? I took inspiration from my own college days, and also from the fact that I was living in a college town at the time I began writing the book.  I knew I wanted to write about female friendship gone very, very wrong.  I needed a setting that would explain why three extremely different women, who have little in common and are clearly bad influences on one another, might form an intense friendship.  I found the answer in memories of my own freshman year of college.  You leave home for the first time and are suddenly surrounded by kids your own age, who may be smarter, prettier, richer, and, yes, nastier than you. That moment is incredibly intense, fraught with drama and peril as well as learning and growth.  I think it makes for a very compelling read!

Would you agree that there is an element of co-dependency between Aubrey and Kate? Absolutely, and with Jenny, too.  Aubrey and Kate are both damaged by their childhoods.  Kate has lost her mother at an early age, and had difficult relationships with her father and — as she tells it — a succession of wicked step-mothers.  She has the means to indulge her sorrows in bad behavior without ever paying the price.  But she needs acolytes, as well as loyal retainers to clean up after her.  Aubrey adores and worships her, and Jenny keeps order.  Kate needs them, but they both need something from her.  Maybe it’s access to her glittering social world, or the stamp of approval that comes from her great name.  Aubrey is extremely intelligent but simply not equipped emotionally to navigate the world of Carlisle College.  She grabs onto Kate like a life preserver, much to her disadvantage.  And over and over again, Jenny cleans up the mess.  Why? Jenny is worth paying attention to.  She’s not the splashiest of the three main characters, but she’s perhaps the cleverest, and always has an ulterior motive.

Is it always the husband, unless it’s the best friend. The two people, aside from family, who tend to be closest to a person. Was exploring the aspect of betrayal being so close to loyalty and love being so close to hatred, intentional on your part?Yes, completely intentional.  Suspense and psychological thrillers by nature explore the dark impulses that exist in the hearts of normal people. Those impulses are most likely to be awakened when our most intimate relationships go wrong.  I’m much more interested in that dynamic than I am in the motives of psychopaths or serial killers.  There are two unnatural deaths in this book, either or both of which could be called a murder.  Both deaths are the result of slow-burn emotions by people who would never think of themselves as criminals.  My goal is to get the reader sufficiently inside the heads of these “killers” to understand and even empathize with their actions.  Maybe we’re all capable of murder, given the right circumstances.  That’s what scares me.

Throughout the book Kate makes decisions which make it appear as if her intent is to harm or upset the apple cart. Are these the actions of a traumatised young girl/woman or is she a narcissist? Great question.  To me, the answer is, both.  But the reason I’ve given each of the three main characters her own chapters is to allow the reader to get inside her head. Each reader can then answer this question for herself.

Thank you for answering all of my questions, especially the odd ones. Thank you for the fantastic questions.  They are all so interesting, and really made me think.  A very enjoyable interview.

Review

Loyalty and friendship play a major role in this story, especially the friendships between women. The friendship between Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny is forged during their college years. The three of them are from different walks of life and are thrown together when they become roommates, which is the beginning of this tale of betrayal and secrets.

Kate returns to the roost, and her friends, after many years of hiding from the truth. Well that isn’t really true, Kate is only interested in the here and now, and herself. So nothing has really changed except maybe that her friends are now no longer as willing to put up with her narcissistic ways. Friends can become enemies in a heartbeat.

Campbell examines the boundaries of the friendship between the women. How would you define loyalty between your best friend and yourself? Is there really any such thing as complete and utter loyalty or true friendship? Personally I think you have to go through your absolute worst times to find out just how tight your friendships are.  Count the people still stood there after the walls have come tumbling down around you, and the majority of your so-called friends have suddenly forgotten you exist, there is no better eye-opener.

The other element of the story the author explores is whether or not we are all killers at heart. In some of us the urge just sleeps more deeply than in others. Also whether the still developing brain of a young person makes them as culpable as an adult committing the same crime. A rash decision, a gut reaction with fatal consequences. It could happen to anyone, unless of course it isn’t an accident at all.

Kudos to Campbell for the ending, it’s sneaky and done in an almost nonchalant way. You sort of think it’s that person, then get diverted by a few red herrings, and end up being surprised.

It’s Always the Husband is an in depth look at our closest relationships and if they can weather the darkest of secrets. It also examines the thin line between love and hate in friendships. Is there really any such thing as loyalty when your own survival is at stake?

Buy It’s Always the Husband at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Advertisements

#BlogTour Perfect Match by Zoe May

Today is my stop on the BlogTour for Perfect Match by Zoe May. Perfect Match is breezy light read with quite a few laughs. May doesn’t take herself too seriously and applies the same approach to her views on relationships and online dating. The result is an entertaining read.

Connect with Zoe May on Twitter:

Follow @zoe_writes @HQDigitalUK @HarperCollinsUK

Buy Perfect Match

About the book

Can you ever find true love online?

Sophia Jones is an expert in all things online dating: the best sites, how to write a decent bio, which questions to ask and the right type of photos to use. The only thing she’s not so great at? Picking the guys…

After sitting through yet another dreadful date with a man who isn’t quite what she expected, Sophia is just about ready to give up on the whole dating scene. But her flatmate, Kate, persuades her to give it one more chance, only this time she must create a profile describing her ‘perfect’ man.

Yes, he must look like Robert Pattinson and needs to own a multi-million pound business, but there are a couple of other deal breakers, too! So, when a guy comes along who ticks every box, surely there’s got to be a catch?

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Catherine Bennetto and Rosie Blake!

Review

There is a chapter in this book that had me in stitches, because it reminded me of a similar faux pas I once made, except mine was mistaking a small heated fluffy hand-towel for a dessert. I was crying tears of laughter when I read it.

What May hides really well in this humorous story is the serious question of our expectations vs reality when it comes to relationships and love, and if that wasn’t enough the author also takes a subtle pop at online dating. It has become the 21st century approach to meeting a potential mate. It has opened up opportunities, but it also brings certain safety concerns with it. Connecting with other people is now as easy as breathing air thanks to app, smartphones and technology in general.

Sophia has used nearly every website she can think of to find the right man. So far she has only met duds, bores and freaks. Then again she is extremely finicky. No one is handsome enough, rich enough, smart enough and certainly not entertaining enough for her.

In an act of desperation she writes a profile for yet another website with what can only be described as fantastical requests. In return she gets a lot of weird replies, but one of them is different, one of them matches the profile perfectly.

The moral of the story is you should never judge a book by its cover. Nothing could be more true in this case. As is the saying that you don’t want something or someone until somebody else has it and it is no longer available to you. Sophia definitely suffers from wanting what she can’t have and not wanting what she can have.

Perfect Match is a light-hearted rom-com with a frank take on 21st century dating and our inability to appreciate what we have, and to see what is often right under our noses. May entertains without losing sight of the point she is trying to make, and brings the serious tone when the story requires it. It isn’t often that a scene in a book makes me laugh out loud, so kudos to May for that.

Buy Perfect Match at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

#BlogTour A Week to be Wild by J.C. Harroway

a week to be wild2

#MillsandBoonmakeover #MillsandBoonDare #HarlequinDare #IamLovingthenewCovers

A Week to be Wild by J.C. Harroway is kicking off and introducing the new and improved face of Mills & Boon, which was launched by Gerald Mills and Charles Boon and started off as the romance imprint of Harlequin UK Ltd in 1908. That means Mills & Boon have been enthralling their readers for 110 years.

The publisher, a subsidiary of Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, operates as a division of Harper Collins. Mills & Boon has grown to become the UK’s undisputed market leader in romance fiction publishing, entrenched in the hearts and minds of its avid readership.

Now an imprint of Harper Collins, Mills & Boon is starting 2018 off with a mega boom and a brand revamp, which includes their new DARE series.

DARE ~ Sexy. Passionate. Bold. A brand new, searingly sexy romance series written by women for women, the Mills & Boon DARE series will feature strong, empowered women who take the lead – be it in the boardroom or the bedroom – and enjoy great sex on their terms.

About the Author

“Writing love because the world always needs more…” J.C. Harroway

Follow @jcharroway @MillsandBoon Visit @jcharroway.com

Visit millsandboon.co.uk

Buy A Week to be Wild

About the book

Harlequin DARE, a new romance series featuring strong, independent women and sizzling hot heroes. Harlequin DARE stories push the boundaries of sexual explicitness while keeping the focus on the developing romantic relationship.

A daring game of temptation

She’ll play his game—but only by her rules!

Alex Lancaster is an adrenaline junkie. He’s also a sexy British billionaire who should come with his own warning signs. When Libby insists she is done with men who live on the edge, Alex coaxes her out of her comfort zone—professionally and very, very personally. Libby’s taking a high-stakes gamble, but the pay-off could win her everything…

Review

You might want to have your hand fan or battery powered handheld fan at the ready for this one. It might just get your pulse racing and your temperature a’rising to a level that might necessitate a cool breeze.

Libby is a strong independent business woman, who has put her love life on hold for the last few years to concentrate on herself and her business. She is also recovering from a traumatic event that has made her cautious about close romantic relationships, but hey having a little fun when you’re hot under the collar isn’t forbidden. Which is exactly what goes through her head when she meets the wealthy and handsome Alex. Suddenly being all professional is the last thing on her mind and all she can think about is this man who has got all her synapses firing on full power.

In the midst of all the horizontal tangoing, the passionate encounters and provocative game-playing the two of them start to develop a real emotional connection. The kind of connection Libby is still shying away from. The only reason she hasn’t started to run yet is the fact Alex has managed, for the first time in a long time, to help her to experience the rush of life.

The new DARE series doesn’t just cater to the reader who believes in the excitement of love, butterflies in their stomach and the heat of a blush rising to their cheeks. They also cater to the ones wanting the thrill of the chase, the excitement of sexual attraction and the hotter than hot interactions between the characters.

Harroway brings exactly the right amount of romance, sexual tension and eroticism to bring pleasure to the readers. Yes, that pun was intentional. It gets really racy and is superbly tempestuous. It might even elicit a gasp or two while you read.

This is pocket-sized passion that fits in your handbag, so you can enjoy a titillating read whenever and wherever you want. Mills & Boon for the 21st century woman.

Buy A Week to be Wild at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

DAREBLOG

The Invisible Crowd by Ellen Wiles

invisible crowdWhat a thought-provoking book title, and a very astute way to describe this particular group of people.

The story is about a refugee fleeing a brutal civil war and the people he encounters on his journey to freedom. The process to remain and the interviews are quite frankly bordering on harassment.

There is being specific and then there is being insulting for the fun of it. Victim blaming is the least of it. I know it is their job to determine whether there is an actual threat waiting for them if they return to their home country, so a certain level of toughness is to be expected.

I’m not going to lie, the headlines from the ever so reliable and never objective newspapers are depressing. It also angers me that the masses are spoon-fed this over-hyped tripe as real news, and of course the majority believes the headlines are not only true, in their minds they also apply them to every single refugee. The masses are whipped into a frenzy and blame everything on any foreigner they can find, even if they are of the fictional variety. There are bad apples in every basket, regardless of which type or brand of apple they are.

Wiles has written an interesting all-round account of the political situation we find ourselves in. In fact she has probably barely broken the seal on the Pandora’s box of trauma refugees go through. Human trafficking, profiting from the desperation of others, modern day slavery and just exploitation in general.

It’s important that people comprehend the difference between an immigrant and a refugee. A refugee has bag full of trauma by the time they arrive in the safe haven they are heading for. They encounter discrimination, racism, neglect and pure dislike.

Hopefully this story will make a few readers reconsider their opinions on refugees and the personal individual stories behind each person.

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

Follow @ellenwiles @HarperCollinsUK

Visit ellenwiles.com

#BlogTour The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin

The Blog-Tour for The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin has been a whirlwind so far and I am stoked to be a part of it. It is a an excellent read with a spectacular plot. Fortin has a wicked imagination with an eye for the unusual and the courage to put it to good use.

About the Author

Published by Harper Collins’ imprint Harper Impulse, Sue Fortin writes mystery, suspense and romance. Sue is a member of both the Crime Writers’ Association and The Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Sue is a USA Today and an Amazon UK #1 best selling author, with The Girl Who Lied and Sister Sister both reaching #1 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Translation rights for both novels have been sold worldwide.

Lover of cake, Dragonflies and France. Hater of calories, maths and snakes. Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex.

Sue is married with four children, all of whom patiently give her time to write but, when not behind the keyboard, she likes to spend her time with them, enjoying both the coast and the South Downs, between which they are nestled.

Follow @suefortin1 @HarperImpulse @HarperCollinsUK

Follow SueFortinauthor on Facebook

Visit suefortin.com

About the book

Dear Carys, Zoe and Andrea,

Come and join me for my fortieth birthday adventure weekend, full of mysteries and surprises the like of which you can’t imagine.

When Joanne’s friends reluctantly accept an invitation to her birthday party, it quickly becomes clear that there is more to this weekend than they are expecting. One of them is hiding a secret. And Joanne is planning to reveal it…

A weekend away in a cottage in the woods sounds like fun – until no one can hear your cries for help.

Four friends.

A party to die for. 

Who will survive?

Q&A

Can you please tell us a bit about The Birthday Girl? The Birthday Girl is about four women who have been friends for some time, but recently things have been strained between them for one reason and another. One of the women, Joanne, decides to throw a surprise birthday weekend away for the four of them but it soon becomes apparent that clearing the air is not on the birthday wish list. In fact, Joanne has something rather more unsettling planned.

The Birthday Girl is gripping, and also quite scary at times, despite being set in an idyllic cottage in the country. What do you think it is about the countryside that creates such a sense of fear? Town and city life is very much man-made, the infrastructure has been thought out carefully so people can benefit the most, it’s organised and there are lots of rules. In the countryside this is much less apparent, especially somewhere like the Scottish countryside where nature is the dominant force and outside our control.

The Birthday Girl also deals with secrets and the effect they have on friendship, what made you want to exploit those themes? Friendships are complicated and have many, many layers to them. My family moved around quite a lot as I was growing up, so every 3 years or so, I had establish new friendships. As I got older and hit my teens, I found this to be quite a challenge. As an adult and since having children, I’ve found that friendships come in tranches, depending on your circumstances, what you’re doing, what your priority is at that particular time. Some are quite transient whilst others can be lasting. Some friendships are rock solid and others, when you scratch the surface, have underlying tensions. It’s a totally fascinating theme to explore.

What’s currently on your reading list? Hundreds! I wish I could read faster. I’m actually reading a proof copy of ‘White Bodies’ by Jane Robins at the moment. I’m only a few chapters in but it’s got my attention already. Then I’ve promised myself ‘A Stranger’s House’ by Clare Chase and then ‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper. After that it will be around Christmas time, so I’ll treat myself to a few Christmas feel-good reads, Sue Moorcroft’s ‘The Little Village Christmas’ being one of them.

What would be your ideal birthday party? Going to someone else’s! I can honestly say, I’ve never had a birthday party of my own in my life and the thought of being the centre of attention makes me shudder. So, I suppose, my ideal party would be just my husband and children at home or in our cottage in France.

Review

My first thought when I finished this book was oh wow that’s so messed up, but in a this author has a knack for the twisted psychological fast-paced compelling read I really enjoy way.

Carys, Zoe and Andrea are invited by their friend Joanne to celebrate her birthday. Nothing strange about that until you take a closer look. The truth is each one of the invited girls seems to have some underlying issues with Joanne, so the invitation is a bit of a surprise. Her behaviour has been passive-aggressive and her running commentary quite snarky. The kind of snarky that makes you wonder if the woman is having a laugh or having a go.

One of them is hiding a secret from the others and Joanne plans to reveal it in a way they will least expect it. Perhaps Joanne has underestimated the lengths some people will go to, to keep their secrets hidden from the rest of the world. She feels like the cat that got the cream and is acting as if she has the power to do anything she wants, especially in the bizarre location she has chosen to celebrate her birthday.

Needless to say the best laid plans go completely awry and set a sequence of events in motion that are both bizarre and often inexplicable. Behind every door hides a different danger and behind each supposedly friendly face a potential threat.

Within the plot there is a focus on Carys and her personal story. It takes a peculiar and menacing turn a la being chased by an inner madness, and hearing whispers on par with the devil himself sitting on top of her shoulder. What is she hiding and why?

If there is anything you can expect from The Birthday Girl then it is to expect the unexpected. It has a subtle sinister feel to it. Just when you think you have it figured out Fortin throws a wrench in the middle of your theory. There is an intentional or perhaps completely unintentional clue smack bang in the middle of the book, which points towards the guilty party, but hey my lips are sealed.

It’s a compelling rule-breaker of a story. Fortin will make you question every detail you think you know and leave you with more unanswered questions than you started with. If you’re looking for a rollercoaster read then you have picked the right book, just keep in mind that it might send you full throttle into a cloud of doubt. Exactly the way I like it, I might add.

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

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Fools-and-Mortals-200x307Kudos to Cornwell for giving the works of Shakespeare their dues, especially A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He dissects the piece, as if it were the hottest new reality-soap in town. Leaving the historical references and importance of Shakespeare’s work aside for a moment, what remains are emotional roller-coasters for the masses. Shakespeare gives us drama, laughter, tears,violence and death. His plays were live television.

Cornwell is an excellent storyteller. The reader becomes so transfixed by the unfolding drama, and drawn in by the strong characters, that you almost forget everything is taking place in the Elizabethan era.

The story is about William and Richard Shakespeare, and their sibling rivalry. At the same time it is also about the existing rivalries between the various playhouses. An original play or new script is worth its weight in gold. People will pay good money to watch a new play being performed. It’s quite interesting to note how many new scripts playwrights had to come up with in such a short period of time to entertain not only the masses, but also the upper echelon of society, including the queen.

Richard struggles with the fact his brother seems to see him either as a hindrance or a complete failure. He wants acknowledgement of his talent and perhaps even an apology for being handed to the wolves by his brother. At the moment he is  always automatically picked to play the role of the pretty woman, because he is known for his striking looks. The kind of appealing physical appearance that tends to be noticed by the wrong people.

I really enjoyed it. I was expecting a story filled with heavy historical references. Instead it is a witty light-hearted entertaining read, which still manages to portray the hardships, the danger, the paranoia and the fear in that particular era, and the way of life in London.

Cornwell combines his talent for historical fiction with his concise knowledge of Shakespeare, which of course makes this a double-treat for bookworms with a penchant for both history and the works of the bard.

Buy Fools and Mortals at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @BernardCornwell @HarperCollinsUk

Visit bernardcornwell.net

The A to Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson

A to ZIf my mother did this my sister and me, then I would conjure up her spirit to tell her what a fool she is. My sister and I would both find this process a complete waste of time, and one that would probably end with one or the other in jail. (Makes note not to buy this book for my mother)

I would however do this for my daughters if I felt they needed to reconnect and be there for each other after my death. Not that I would ever let things become so bad that I wasn’t speaking to my children on a regular basis.

Blood is thicker than water, however blood doesn’t mean you automatically have to be friends. In fact the reality is that many take a step back from family members because they are related but don’t like them.

Andrea has planned everything in fine detail. She wants Rose and Poppy to reunite and become the friends they once were. She wants them to support each other and get over the problems that keep them apart.

Poppy and Rose used to be as thick as thieves until something ripped them apart. Now they are like strangers, and Poppy doesn’t even know her nephew.

Rose is just as guilty as Poppy, as far as I am concerned. It takes two to tango and yet Rose places all the blame on Poppy. Of course it is more of a betrayal if it is your sister, but come on now blaming one person is ludicrous.

The idea itself is quite an interesting one. You don’t know what you’ve lost until it is gone forever. It is all about taking people for granted and letting relationships get to the point of no return. Both women have to learn to put the past behind them and to move forward with a clean slate. It is an emotional and honest read, possibly because it is a realistic scenario.

Buy The A to Z of Everything at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @Debbiemjohnson@HarperImpulse or @HarperCollinsUk