#BlogTour The Woman in the Painting by Kerry Postle

Today it’s my turn and the last stop on the BlogTour The Woman in the Painting by Kerry Postle.

About the Author

Kerry loves art, history and literature. In her debut novel, ‘The Artist’s Muse’, she explores the artist Egon Schiele’s relationship with his model Wally Neuzil and shows that it isn’t only Schiele’s paintings of Wally that shimmer and shock.

Kerry’s second novel, ‘A Forbidden Love’, is set during the Spanish Civil War and tells a rousing and ultimately uplifting story: that when war has taken everything away from us we are still left with our humanity.

With the author’s third novel, ‘The Woman in the Painting’, she returns to the world of art. Set in Rome at the start of the 16th century the author shares with us the heartbreaking story behind the artist Raphael’s portrait of his lover, Margarita Luti. Known as ‘The Baker’s Daughter’, this portrait hides a secret…

For more about Kerry Postle visit http://frockfriday.co.uk/. For links to the paintings and literature that inspired her first novel go to https://theartistsmuseblog.wordpress.com

Follow @kerry_postle on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy The Woman in the Painting

About the book

A celebrated artist. A baker’s daughter. A love that will change everything. 1508. In Rome, artists are feted as gods, and women must know their place.

Margarita may be the modest daughter of a baker, but when she falls in love with painter Raphael she finds herself playing a dangerous game.

For Raphael is wanted for greater things than a humble marriage, and there are those who will do anything to keep him and Margarita apart – no matter the consequences…


Review

Pietro is an interesting narrator, perhaps because it is hard to feel any empathy towards him – at least for the majority of the story. He is a target because of his sexual preferences, his family pretends he doesn’t exist and he is usually one step away from complete destitution.

Now all of those things might make the audience feel sympathy towards him now and again. Poor Pietro with the speech impediment, everyone makes fun of him. Poor Pietro indeed. One wonders if he spent time polishing his thirty pieces of silver.

His love and obsession play a pivotal part in the story of Margarita, the lowborn daughter of a baker who refuses to be bought or sold like chattel. She becomes the object of inspiration for some of the most well-known painters of Italian Renaissance. Men creating works of art which still inspire and captivate the world many centuries after creation.

It’s historical fiction inspired by a true story. A tale of art, passion, love, but most of all it is a story of deceit.

I really enjoyed the way Postle never veered from Pietro, his point of view and ultimately his influence over the events. It doesn’t merely become a tragic tryst and battle of passionate endeavours or about navigating the egocentric and narcissistic traits of the most powerful. When you break it down it is about the subtle whispers spoken in rage or jealousy and remaining silent and doing nothing when you should step in to change to the tide of opinion.

It’s an exceptional and well crafted story.

Buy The Woman in the Painting at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 22 May 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Five year Plan by Carla Burgess

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess.

About the Author

Carla Burgess was born in Solihull and now lives in Chester, UK, with her husband, three children, dog and bearded dragon. She has a degree in English Literature and Psychology and started her working life as an editor on a magazine.

Follow @MSBear123 on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit carlaburgessauthor.comBuy The Five Year Plan

About the book

Orla is a trainee reporter with a five-year plan: work her way up the career ladder, move to London and secure a job on a big national newspaper. She doesn’t want a boyfriend, he’s only going to hold her back anyway. Aiden spends his life travelling the world and living in a tent. He knows his goal: to photograph animals and raise awareness of global warming and wildlife conservation. He’s definitely not looking for a relationship past the odd casual hook-up! So when Orla and Aiden’s lives collide, they do everything to not fall for each other – with the opposite effect. But they stick to their plans, and go their separate ways…Five years later, they meet again.

Review

Orla isn’t ready to change her life or plans for someone who lives life each day as it comes. He would also rather spend his days taking pictures of wildlife and his nights in a manky tent. Not exactly the dependable nine-to-five guy who will sweep her off her feet and give her the kind of life she has planned for. Orla is very much a planner.

She didn’t really plan to wade through mud to get an interview with the weird otter obsessed conservationist or to find him so enticing that she keeps going back. She connects with Aiden on such a different level than she has ever done with anyone else, and then one day he is gone.

Five years later and Aiden is back in town and Orla is trying to stay as far away as possible from the man she couldn’t forget, but his orbit has a pull stronger than a magnet the size of a house.

It’s a lovely romcom – a romance with a two main characters who are unwilling to admit they are perfect for each other.

Burgess doesn’t give her readers love on a platter or her characters for that matter. It’s very much a case of having to fight for it, then again perhaps it is more a case of acknowledging something worth fighting and changing your life for. Love isn’t a straight line kind of emotion or experience.

It’s a feel good read, a story of love and the difficult winding path it often takes.

Buy The Five Year Plan at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital, pub date 20 Mar. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Broken Silence by Liz Mistry

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Broken Silence, the second part in the DS Nikki Parekh series, by Liz Mistry.

About the Author

Liz Mistry has signed a three book deal for a new series with HQ Digital, a Harper Collins imprint. The first in the series was Last Request, which was released in October 2019. Broken Silence is the second book and will be released April 2020. The series features a feisty mixed-race DS called Nikki Parekh and is set in Bradford.

Follow @LizMistryAuthor on Twitter,  on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit lizmistrycrimewriter.wordpress.comBuy Broken Silence

About the book

When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…

On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.

Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead. Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.

With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.

But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…

Review

The tables are turned in this second part of the DS Nikki Parekh series, both of which can be read as standalone crime reads. Where DS Springer was very much the enemy in Last Request and almost obsessively determined to bring Parekh to heel and perhaps even destroy her career – this time it is up to Parekh to find and if possible save Springer.

It’s almost ironic how Springer starts to make choices based on what she thinks Parekh might do in a similar situation. The other woman, the colleague she has treated with disdain becomes the person to emulate. Strength, determination and an incalculable will to survive the ordeal are what keep Stringer fighting. If she survives, will it change the way she perceives and interacts with Parekh?

It’s an urban crime read with a fresh gritty feel. The main characters says what she feels and sometimes she feels like she doesn’t give two monkeys about a woman who tried to destroy her, but now needs her help.

Mistry mixes modern crime with the challenges of gender inequality in the police force. The treatment of those who don’t fit into the men’s club idea of what a cop should be, and the women who help to perpetuate the problem. Acting like one of the boys doesn’t mean you are one.

I have to say kudos to the sub-plot that flows subtly along with the main one. The indifference, the shame, the audacity of the event and the way each individual responds to it was an interesting way to solidify certain points.

Buy Broken Silence at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for an other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 24 April 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Last Request (DS Nikki Parekh #2) by Liz Mistry.

#BlogTour Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger.

About the Author

Katie Ginger, lives by the sea in the south-east of England, and is a writer of romantic fiction and a few cozy mystery short stories. She is the author of the Seafront series (The Little Theatre on the Seafront and Summer Season on the Seafront) and the stand-alone Christmas novel Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage. Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay is her fourth novel.

Katie lives with her hubby, two kids, and her King Charles Spaniel, Wotsit.

Follow @KatieGAuthor on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit keginger.comBuy Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay

About the book

In Swallowtail bay the birds are singing, the sun is shining and the locals are welcoming – but Stella’s new beginning might be over before it’s begun…

Licking her wounds from her divorce, Stella impulsively buys a gift shop and two holiday lets in glorious Swallowtail Bay, hoping for a fresh start with her King Charles Spaniel Frank.

When the neighbours meet her with a warm welcome, Stella knows she’s found the new home she was looking for. Even gorgeous but grumpy local Miles can’t take the shine off things. But then her ex-husband announces he’s getting married again, and someone in the village starts gossiping about Stella…

Is Stella’s dream over already? Or, with her new friends behind her, can Stella fight back and save her new life – and find the happy ever after she’s been waiting for?

Review

Stella is putting it all on the line by giving up her old life and starting a new one. Buying a gift shop near the seaside sounds like such a magical thing to do. Images of her and Frank walking along the sandy beach, listening to the waves roll in, whilst lazy Frank sniffs everything to his hearts desire. It sounds like a wonderful place to start a new life.

She might not be expecting the chaos that comes with having holiday lets or the kind of opposition that comes from snapping up a popular property, but perhaps the friendships she makes on her new journey will be worth all the bother and stress.

The author mixes it up a little when it comes to the two men vying for the position of possible Prince Charming. Jay is a handsome heartthrob with a lack of morals, and an unusual relationship with the truth. Miles is affluent, straight-laced and a little bit on the awkward side – also on the handsome side though. Neither of them ring the bell when it comes to perfect love interest. In a way that is a better reflection of real life, even if this is fiction.

This is a cosy romance, with an emphasis on friendship, support and the small moments of kindness that keep people afloat in the most difficult of times. Ginger gives readers a read that mirrors life, whilst also giving them small moments of fantasy. It’s the balance and the imperfection of the characters that absolutely make the read.

Buy Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay (Swallowtail Bay #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital pub date 18 Mar. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Where We Belong by Shann McPherson

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Where We Belong by Shann McPherson.

About the Author

With big dreams of being a published author since she was an eleven-year-old girl writing Beverly Hills 90210 fan fiction before fan fiction was even a thing, Shann McPherson has been writing angsty, contemporary romances for most of her thirty-something years.

Living in sunny Queensland, Australia, when she’s not writing Shann enjoys making memories with her husband and cheeky toddler son, drinking wine, and singing completely off-key to One Direction’s entire discography.

Follow @Shann_McPherson on Twitter, on Amazonon Facebookon InstagramBuy Where We Belong

About the book

When Alice ‘Murph’ Murphy’s beloved mother died, she promised to keep the family bakery in Graceville, Georgia afloat—even if it meant letting her high-school sweetheart, Nash Harris, go. For years, Murph has been biding her time, waiting for Nash to come back for her.

So when he strolls into Piece O’ Cake, Murph’s heart skips a beat—until he hands her an invitation to his wedding… There are painful secrets in both their pasts that only the two of them share, and Murph can’t bear the thought of Nash belonging to someone else.

There’s only one thing Murph can think of to do: fake a relationship with local bar owner and old friend Harley Shaw to remind Nash of what he’s losing, and win him back for good.

Nash is Murph’s best friend, a vivid reminder of her childhood and all the things she’s lost—but the more time Murph and Harley spend together, the more the lines between real and pretend begin to blur. Can Murph choose between the one who got away and the one who never left—and heal her aching heart?

Review

Alice is ecstatic to see her first love Nash right there in front of her. Has he finally realised what he left behind? Err, nope. He is there to invite her to his wedding. He has found his Mrs Right and wants Alice to be a part of the celebrations.

She isn’t going to just accept the new status quo and starts meddling in the happiness of the wedded couple to be. Her ‘pranks’ make her look like a tiny psycho and often end up punishing the wrong person, especially when she spontaneously decides to cast Harley in the role of her boyfriend. It creates friction between the three tight friends.

To be completely frank Alice doesn’t always come off in a great way. It’s sometimes hard to feel empathy for someone who whines about not succeeding in life the way they wanted to because their mother had the audacity to become terminally ill. How dare she stop Alice from being with her one true love. Yeh, that didn’t always gel well for me.

That vibe comes and goes as Alice aka Murph is caught between her first love and the man who always had her back. She has to leave the past behind and figure out which one is her future – if either of the two fits that description at all.

It’s a turbulent romcom with a focus on loyalty and friendship. This very much has the feel of the popular My Best Friend’s Wedding. McPherson creates the same kind of emotional turbulence, which is combined with humour and compelling characters. It’s a feel good read where the reader is routing for the main character, even when the character has completely given up.

Buy Where We Belong at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 21 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Secret Letter by Kerry Barrett

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Secret Letter by Kerry Barrett.

About the Author

Kerry has always loved books, words, writing and reading. She was a very bookish child and read all the time. She remembers challenging herself to read all the Famous Five books by her seventh birthday – but she doesn’t remember if she succeeded!

From growing up on a diet of Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfeild, and Sweet Valley High, she moved on to Jackie Collins and her all-time favourite Jilly Cooper. She studied English Literature and Language at the University of Birmingham, then after university, she trained as a journalist and worked on various newspapers and magazines as a writer and editor. In her spare time, she wrote and rewrote what would eventually become her first novel, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, which was published in 2013.

Kerry now divides her time between writing her own novels and editing other people’s. She loves editing as much as writing and she thinks being an editor helps improve her writing, while being a writer makes her a better editor.

Kerry is from Edinburgh originally, but now she lives in South London with her husband and two sons.

Follow @kerrybean73 and @HQDigitalUK on Twitter,  on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit kerrybarrett.co.ukBuy The Secret Letter

About the book

I signed the letter with a flourish. I wouldn’t send it. There was no need. But I wanted to keep it somewhere safe, somewhere I could find it if I ever needed to remember why I’d done what I’d done. The fight goes on, I told myself. The fight goes on…

London, 1910. Twenty-one-year-old Esther Watkins would do anything for the Suffragette cause. Imprisoned, force-fed and beaten, she is determined to fight for what she believes is right – no matter what it costs her. With new love Joseph by her side, will she get the better future she dreams of?

Kent, 2019. With her marriage in tatters, school teacher Lizzie Armstrong moves to sleepy Elm Heath for a fresh start, and her pupils and the community soon steal her heart. So when the school is threatened with closure Lizzie knows she has to fight, and she looks to the school’s founder for inspiration.

What makes Esther, born and bred in London, a proud Suffragette, suddenly leave the city and escape to Elm Heath? And when Lizzie uncovers Esther’s heartbreaking secret, could it give her the strength she needs to save not just the school, but her new beginning too?

Review

Esther is brave and so are her fellow Suffragettes, but fighting to have a voice comes with a price. Prison, police brutality and being shunned by family, friends and colleagues are just a few things that come to mind. Having to find new homes and employment were no easy feat in 1910. Luckily Esther finds other like-minded women to support her.

When she falls in love she doesn’t expect that relationship to define the rest of her life and the choices she makes, but in a way it does. Those choices are also the beginning of the story Lizzie becomes wrapped up in.

In 2019 Lizzie is recovering from betrayal, heartbreak and adjustments in her career. A bit of a pariah in educational circles she finds her way to a school in Elm Heath, which is in as much need of assistance as indeed she is. There she discovers Esther and the will to fight for what is right.

It’s a double time-line contemporary read and simultaneously also historical fiction.

Barrett shows us women’s empowerment and what that looks like in our day and age, and for women in the past. In the 21st century it’s easy to forget the struggle of the women who came before us. The courageous women who had to endure pain, humiliation, violations and imprisonment for decades, so we can cast a vote just as easily as the opposite gender. The fact it isn’t part of our conscious thought process it perhaps why so many throw away their heavily fought for right to vote away at each given opportunity.

The Suffragettes would be appalled at the way many throw away the opportunity to have a political voice, but perhaps more so because of how hard they fought for it. Of course one could argue that choosing not to vote is also part of democracy.

This story is all about collaboration, even when it stretches over decades, and acknowledging that sometimes we fight not only for ourselves, but also future generations.

Buy The Secret Letter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ – HQ Digital; pub date 6 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Hidden Women by Kerry Barrett.

#BlogTour The Secret Sister by K.A. Clarke and A.J. Brittany

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Secret Sister by K.A. Clarke and A.J. Brittany. These are pseudonyms for the successful writers Karen Clarke and Amanda Brittany.

About the Author/s

Amanda Brittany lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two dogs. She loves spending time with family, travelling, walking, reading & sunny days. Amanda has also written 3 psychological thrillers: Traces of Her, Tell the Truth and Her Last Lie. Published by HQ Digital/HarperCollins.

Karen Clarke lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children where she writes romantic comedy novels published by Bookouture and psychological suspense for HQDigital/HarperCollins.

The Secret Sister is a psychological suspense co-written by K.A. Clarke and A.J. Brittany and is out in January 2020.

Follow @amandajbrittany on TwitterA.J. Brittany on Goodreads, on Facebook, on Instagram, Visit amandabrittany.co.uk

Follow @karenclarke123 on TwitterK.A. Clarke on Goodreads, on Facebook, on Instagram, Visit karenclarkewriter.com,

Buy The Secret Sister 

About the book

Can you trust a sister who is a stranger?

Ella Matthews has it all. A beautiful house, a charming husband and a precious baby daughter – her life has pretty much turned out exactly as she planned.

But when Ella’s mother tragically dies, her perfect life starts to crack. Her mother had been harbouring a life-long secret. Ella has a sister – an older sister – called Colleen. Excited by the thought of no-longer being an only child, Ella can’t wait to find her.

But Colleen has a whirlwind past of her own. Desperate to escape her troubles, she is ready to go to any length to start afresh.

As their paths collide, someone is keeping secrets… and when Colleen mysteriously disappears without notice, Ella can’t help but question if she should have started looking for her at all…Review

Imagine life as you know it being turned completely upside down by the revelation that your mother had another child. A child she chose to give away and keep secret for the entirety of her lifetime. Ella is thrown for a loop, and yet part of her feels drawn to find this stranger, who is part of her mother and part of her.

Colleen has had a turbulent and painful life, which hasn’t been made easier by a partner who appears to be a loving person to the outside world. The truth is that Gabriel has another face completely – a persona that only Colleen gets to experience.

In a way Colleen has made similar choices to Anna without being aware of it. The need to be loved overshadows the negative aspects of the relationships they have with men. They both have or had a tendency to pick men with possessive, jealous streaks, which ultimately ends up defining the lives they lead.

The difference is where one gave in and subjected herself to the wishes of her man and thereby ignoring her needs and those of her loved ones – can the other woman break the cycle and be free to determine her own path in life?

It’s a moving tension filled psychological thriller which draws from the complex relationship structures of mothers and daughters. If this collaboration is anything to go by the writing duo Clarke and Brittany is off to a fantastic start and I hope this is the first of many more.

Buy The Secret Sister at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.