#BlogTour Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah.

About the Author 

Kia Abdullah is an author, journalist and travel writer. She has contributed to the Guardian, BBC, and Channel 4 News, and most recently the New York Times commenting on a variety of issues affecting the Muslim community. Kia currently travels the world as one half of the travel blog Atlas & Boots, atlasandboots.com, which receives over 100,000 views per month.

Follow @KiaAbdullah on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit kiaabdullah.comBuy Truth Be Told

About the book

Are You Ready to Start this Conversation? Kamran Hadid feels invincible. He attends Hampton school, an elite all-boys boarding school in London, he comes from a wealthy family, and he has a place at Oxford next year. The world is at his feet. And then a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter and he must ask himself a horrific question.

With the help of assault counsellor, Zara Kaleel, Kamran reports the incident in the hopes that will be the end of it. But it’s only the beginning…


If you haven’t read Take it Back by Kia Abdullah, then I can only recommend you do. It’s a cracking read, as is this one. This book does give some backstory to be able to understand the main character, her choices and what drives her to help certain people though.

This time Zara Haleel gets involved in case of a young affluent man, who is sexually assaulted. The story delves into the repercussions for both men and the reactions of those around them. It really addresses the stigma attached to male on male assaults and why men are even less likely to come forward and report it than women.

‘Is this what women go through?’ – Perhaps one of the most poignant and reflective moments in the story. Where the injustice and inequality directed towards victims suddenly dawns on the privileged young man.

The constant battle to live up to the expectations of masculinity and the patriarchal system, which allows no understanding or loopholes for those who don’t fall under the category of heterosexual and Muslim. You can’t be both gay and be Muslim – a sentence often repeated and bandied about by author in an attempt to strip the walls of prejudice and religious dogma down. To examine the thought process behind this statement of fact, something the fervent religious community believes to be cemented in religious law, albeit they are merely moral judgements and commandments written by men for men. 

The same of course can be said for Christianity. The interpretation of scripture often lends itself to the oppression of many and anything deemed not the ‘norm’ in whatever given era we live in.

I think it is a relevant and timely piece of fiction given the #MeToo era, especially given the fact and clear statistics that male rape is still stigmatised and many men never come forward to report their assaults, because of the reaction they will and do receive. Coming out as a victim or rather a survivor of a sexual assault casts men in the role of a lack of masculinity or an assumption of sexual preference, which then puts their lack of consent into question. Women ask for it – men must be gay if they’re raped. Men can’t be raped by women because they have a biological reaction, which suggests pleasure and so on.

It’s a read that asks the reader to question the preconceptions we have about sexual assault and our reactions to it. The way the media portrays both victim and alleged perpetrator and of course the way both our judicial and police systems are still inadequate when it comes to dealing with cases of sexual assault regardless of the gender of the victim.

Abdullah is adept at giving the reader a riveting read that delivers food for thought. She doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable truths of cultures, religion and what people really believe in such cases, despite what they may say to the world.

Buy Truth Be Told at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ: pub date 3 Sept. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Take it Back by Kia Abdullah.

What Red Was by Rosie Price

what red wasThe way Price approached the rape and the reaction of the victim to the rape is done in a very specific way, and perhaps not the way the majority of readers will expect it be addressed.

The focus is on everything and everyone surrounding the event and Kate. Every single person, event and item is described in minutiae barring the most poignant one. It shifts the attention on the reactions and emotions of everyone except victim and perpetrator.

I found it an intriguing way to approach the topic, especially because in reality this is often what happens. The trauma of a rape never just belongs to the person it most certainly should belong to. Family members, loved ones, friends and acquaintances – everyone thinks they are entitled to not only an opinion, but also to own a part of the trauma.

As Kate fights to come to terms with the reality of what happened and the way it might change her life if she reveals the truth

Whose story is it to share? Does it belong to the person it happened to, the person who did it or does it belong to the general public? This is the real question that arises from the entire situation. As if it’s some sort of public service to inform, to judge and to bare all. Even at the expense of the victim.

One of the pivotal points of the story is the platonic relationship between Max and Kate and the repercussions of the assault on said relationship. The equilibrium between them is destroyed, but only one of them is aware of that fact.

This is an engaging piece of contemporary fiction with a noirish quality to it.

Buy What Red Was at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harvill Secker; 9 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Red Word by Sarah Henstra

Today it is a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Red Word by Sarah Henstra. It’s literary fiction with elements of mythology, sexual politics and rape. It’s a brilliant read.

Sarah Henstra Author pic 2 .jpgAbout the Author

Sarah Henstra is a writer and professor of English literature at Ryerson University, where she specialises in 20th Century British Fiction. She lives in Toronto, Ontario. The Red Word is her debut adult fiction novel.

Follow Sarah on Goodreads, Visit sarahhenstra.com. Buy The Red Word

About the book

The Red Word asks a bold question: what if women weren’t content to wait for the next assault to take action? What if they got tired of the his-word-against-hers stalemates? Set against the sex wars of the 1990s and the birth of third-wave feminism, the result is a smart, dark, take-no-prisoners look at the extremes to which ideology can go.

As her sophomore year begins, Karen enters into the back-to-school revelry—particularly at a fraternity called GBC. When she wakes up one morning on the lawn of Raghurst, a house of radical feminists, she gets a crash course in the state of feminist activism on campus.

GBC is notorious, she learns, nicknamed “Gang Bang Central” and a prominent contributor to a list of date rapists compiled by female students. Despite continuing to party there and dating one of the brothers, Karen is equally seduced by the intellectual stimulation and indomitable spirit of the Raghurst women, who surprise her by wanting her as a housemate and recruiting her into the upper-level class of a charismatic feminist mythology scholar they all adore.

As Karen finds herself caught between two increasingly polarized camps, ringleader housemate Dyann believes she has hit on the perfect way to expose and bring down the fraternity as a symbol of rape culture—but the war between the houses will exact a terrible price.


This is the kind of book you need a highlighter for. There were so many things Henstra got right, despite it being such a divisive and controversial premise. There are strips of paper throughout my book to note certain paragraphs and sentences.

Fair warning, I am probably going to talk about this one for a bit.

The story begins with Karen meeting the Raghurst women, after a long boozy night at the GBC fraternity (Gang Bang Central). Concerned that she has been assaulted she is drawn into their protective group. The group consists of strong young women with loud and proud views on themselves and their fellow women. They are especially driven by the need to change the rape culture, which is promoted and protected by our patriarchal society.

Fraternities and sororities aren’t just an American thing, however they are predominantly found in the US. Becoming a member can ensure or give an extra lift up the career ladder. Plenty of companies and institutions scout Ivy League colleges/unis for the right candidates.

One of the problems referred to in this story is the way colleges function almost like independent countries within a bigger setting. They police their own crimes and offences, which also means they have the power not to discipline or punish, and of course an academic disciplinary action isn’t a suitable punishment for a rape or gang-rape culture. The result is plenty of sexual predators being able to prey without fear of punishment and even more victims who suffer the consequence of this system. A system that prefers to protect the privileged, rich and influential.

In Karen the author gives us a character that represents perhaps the smaller percentage of women, the as yet to be assaulted, abused or harassed female. She perceives herself to be someone ‘it’ couldn’t happen to, because she just isn’t that kind of girl. Her mind-set isn’t unusual, and often part of the victim shaming group. Those who shout about the short skirts, make-up, being in the wrong place and acting a certain way being to blame for any assault.

I enjoyed the frank and brusque dialogue between all of the characters. There is no talking around the bush. They think it, they say it. As a woman, I do believe how other women relate and react to this topic will be in direct correlation to age. The same applies to the way the plot and the characters evolve.

As young adults there is a burning fire inside and often a desire to rebel. To stand up and force change. As an older woman you have learnt that the fire can burn with less intensity and still affect change. The other side of the coin is the acceptance of the status quo and a lifetime of compromises.

It’s literary fiction with elements of mythology, sexual politics and rape. It’s a call to arms, and yet at the same time a call to think and regroup. Intellectual discourse and stimulation as a weapon and manipulative tool. It’s so many things, but above all it is a brilliant read. Kudos to Henstra for this intellectually stimulating story.

Buy The Red Word at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Tramp Press in trade paperback, 21st March 2018, £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

About Tramp Press

Tramp Press is an independent publisher based in Dublin; recent successes include Notes to Self by Emilie Pine, Sara Baume (Spill Simmer Falter Wither, A Line Made By Walking) and Mike McCormack (Solar Bones). More information can be found at tramppress.com

#SpotlightTour Someone I Used to Know by Patty Blount


Today it is my turn on the Spotlight Tour for this great book Someone I Used to Know by Patty Blount. It’s an important story, the type we need to tell over and over again until everyone understands what rape culture is.

you live in the US or Canada don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for 2 Copies of Someone I Used to Know below – Runs August 7th -31st ( remember – US & Canada only)

About the Author

Powered by way too much chocolate, award-winning author Patty Blount loves to write and has written everything from technical manuals to poetry. A 2015 CLMP Firecracker Award winner as well as Rita finalist, Patty writes issue-driven novels for teens and is currently working on a romantic thriller. Her editor claims she writes her best work when she’s mad, so if you happen to upset Patty and don’t have any chocolate on hand to throw at her, prepare to be a subject of an upcoming novel. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that sadly doesn’t have anywhere near enough bookshelves…or chocolate.

Follow @PattyBlount  @SourcebooksFire on Twitter Connect with PattyBlountNovels on Facebook Visit pattyblount.com

Buy Someone I used to Know

About the book

From the award-winning author of Some Boys comes an unflinching examination of rape culture that delves into a family torn apart by sexual assault.

It’s been two years since the night that changed Ashley’s life. Two years since she was raped by her brother’s teammate. And a year since she sat in a court and watched as he was given a slap on the wrist sentence. But the years have done nothing to stop the pain.

It’s been two years of hell for Derek. His family is totally messed up and he and his sister are barely speaking. He knows he handled it all wrong. Now at college, he has to come to terms with what happened, and the rape culture that he was inadvertently a part of that destroyed his sister’s life.

When it all comes to head at Thanksgiving, Derek and Ashley have to decide if their relationship is able to be saved. And if their family can ever be whole again.


When you leave aside all the heightened hormone induced drama courtesy of the YA genre, you will find a deeply poignant, emotional and painful read. It’a a wake-up call for everyone, not just the male gender.

The majority of rapists are men, but let’s not forget there are female perpetrators too. Following on from that particular train of thought let’s also acknowledge male and child victims too. Statistics give us a harrowing view of how many women are raped, bearing in mind that there is a suggestion that over 90% of rapes go unreported because victims feel they won’t be believed, fear the repercussions and often may not even comprehend it was rape.

There are less statistics on male-on-male rape, women-on-male and women-on-women rape, often because of the stigma attached to it and the firm belief no one will believe them, or even ridicule them. None of those facts minimise the reality that in their lifetime every girl or woman will experience some kind of sexual harassment, assault or molestation.

The story is timely because the Me Too and Time’s Up movement is trying to break the wall of silence and dismissal. It is asking the sisterhood to stand up and support one another.

Blount takes an introspective look at the family dynamics of the victim’s family after the rape of a teenage girl. How the men in her family react and speak to, about and on the subject of her assault. In particular how one of her brothers has to come to terms with being part of the rape culture and a rape apologist, even going so far as to help her rapist get a lesser charge.

Kudos to the author for not letting the story be dominated by the rapist, by his presence, his experience or his thoughts on his actions. This is purely and simply about Ashley – the victim and the survivor.

The reader follows Ashley, as she is dealing with the physical and psychological scars of her rape. This includes the atrocious behaviour of her peers, her teachers and the people in town. We as a society must ask ourselves why we always blame the victim of a rape and seek to protect the rapist, especially when that rapist is a just a normal popular guy. Why do whole towns protect frat boys, football players and good ol’ boys, and blame and hound the victim, because hey gang-raping girls for fun is completely normal right?

While I am on the subject the law also needs to stop allowing lawyers and judges to present the sexual past of a victim, so they can imply any history of sexual activity equates to them being a whore and a liar. The rapists aren’t subjected to the same scrutiny in the courtroom, why are the victims?

It is painful read at times, full of fear and anger. The author doesn’t want the reader to feel sympathy, but rather an empathy towards Ashley and women like her. More importantly this is a call to arms for boys and men. It’s a shout-out to make them acknowledge and comprehend rape culture, and to intervene and speak up when someone is crossing the line. Even the verbal line, the one that suggests and encourages the next move.

It’s an important story, the type we need to tell over and over again until everyone understands what rape culture is. Parents need to raise their sons to respect and to understand consent. We need to teach all our children both boys and girls. It should be part of the school curriculum.

Buy Someone I used to Know at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com Barnes & Noble BooksaMillion !ndigo IndieBound

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire, Release Date: August 7, 2018

Giveaway for 2 Copies of Someone I Used to Know – Runs August 7th -31st (US & Canada only) Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter:

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#BlogTour Fruit Woman by Kate Rigby

I am delighted to take part in the Blog-Tour for The Fruit Woman by Kate Rigby. The Fruit Woman is an exploration of faith, forgiveness, memories and family. Kate Rigby has mixed the potent with the light-hearted to create a memorable read.

About the Author

“I am a hybrid writer, which means I have been published in a variety of different ways; traditionally, by small press and now independently, or self-published.

I’ve been writing novels for over thirty years.  Some of my book are available in paperback and all are available as e-books.

Social networking sites and writing sites have opened up a whole new world to me and introduced me to some great new writers and books I wouldn’t otherwise have discovered. I love cats, singing, photography, music and LFC. I’m also an avid keyboard warrior, campaigning against social injustice.”

Subscribe here for news about my books and writing.

Visit  kjrbooks.yolasite.com and bubbitybooks.blogspot.co.uk

Buy Fruit Woman (ebook)

Buy Fruit Woman(paperback)

About the book

Fruit Woman is narrated by Helen Scutt, a quirky and naive twenty-seven-year-old. The image of the Fruit Woman has appeared to Helen at important times in her life, particularly in relation to her own sexual and spiritual awakening. But only now, while on holiday with her extended family, does she get her first warning message from the Fruit Woman.

Set in the l980s, Helen returns with her extended family, after a twelve year break, to spend a fortnight at their favourite holiday destination in Devon: Myrtle Cottages. Due to join them for the second week of the holiday are: Helen’s old friend, Bella, Bella’s brother, Dominic, and Helen’s cousin, Les. But shortly after the family have arrived on holiday, Helen’s mother announces that she has also invited along someone from church for the second week of their holiday: Christine Wigg, a friend of the family, and victim of a rape several years before. In the context of the family holiday, where games of cards, scatological worries, and deep discussions abound, the story centres on Helen’s anxieties over the second week’s ‘guest list’. She’s not seen Bella for years, she’s attracted to Dominic in spite of his religious beliefs, and she thinks it a bad idea for her mother to have invited Les, who was originally accused of Christine’s rape by her in-laws. Helen’s concerns trigger off all sorts of childhood and adolescent memories, but as her anxieties mount, can she make sense at last of what happened years before?


Helen reminds me of someone who can’t ever find any peace or rest because their brain is constantly buzzing with information, and that is exactly the way she narrates this story. Flitting from one anecdote or childhood memory to the other, like a bee collecting pollen on a sunny spring day.

I hasten to add that the magic of the scribe is to encourage the reader to look beyond the mindless rambling, as the tales are often merely the key to unlock the subliminal messages. Rigby has Helen skim the surface of the issues, much like taking the cream off the top of the milk with a knife or a spoon.

The true essence of this book is family. The eccentricities of our relatives, the loyalties and wars within the walls of the inner sanctum of the small country called family. Helen is safe within those walls, but perhaps also too protected. Is she the only one who can’t see what is right in front of her eyes?

I agree with Gran about Bella, and indeed my children have probably tired of me commenting on the fact that leopards don’t change their spots. Granted, children who are bullies sometimes grow into adults who reflect upon their mistakes and bad choices, however it doesn’t change the fact they made it their mission to destroy someone else’s childhood. I have a long memory.

In the midst of the reminiscing, the story of Christine’s rape is brought up again and again. She has been invited to the holiday retreat by Helen’s mother. Religion and forgiveness is portrayed in equal measures to Helen’s more emotional reaction to the rape. A lifetime of punishment is more up her alley. The subtle discussion begs the question whether the rapist deserves the hand of forgiveness and whether or not a sexual predator can change his life around completely. Can faith control base impulses and the need for power?

The other fascinating element of this book is the Fruit Woman. I think each reader will experience the idea of her in a different way, depending on their frame of reference. For me Fruit Woman represents womanhood, at the same time she is also Freud’s Id, the inaccessible part of our personality. For Helen she is the magical element of life, the beauty and confusion of living, and the gut instinct that whispers warnings to her even when she doesn’t want to listen.

Rigby writes about the mundane and makes it seem extraordinary. She wraps religion, sexual violence, bullying, alcoholism and low self-esteem in a warm blanket of the mediocrity of family life. I liked her approach. You have to look deep below the surface with this one.

Buy Fruit Woman at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

thirteenDespite what people may have heard or read this book doesn’t encourage teenage suicide nor does it romanticise the idea of suicide. I can’t speak for the popular Netflix series inspired by this book, simply because I haven’t watched it.

It’s important to bear in mind that teenage brains aren’t fully developed until they reach a certain age in adulthood. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain, which isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. This is why a teen is more likely to make rash, illogical, dangerous and impulsive decisions. Everything is overly dramatic and every slight is the end of the world as we know it.

In the mind of  teenager every insult, imagined or real, is a reason to make a decision you can’t just undo.

The reader meets Hannah after she has made the decision to end her life. After she has convinced herself that there is no other way out of her situation other than killing herself.

Ultimately in the midst of all the drama and overhyped teenage interactions Asher is trying to deliver an important message. When someone reaches the end of their tether, and leans towards jumping off the nearest cliff, they will send out subconscious signals. The signals are there for us to see, hear and read, we just need to acknowledge them. Instead of ignoring the changes in behaviour, appearance or the almost indiscernible cries for help, we need to open our eyes and try to help.

The story starts with Clay Jensen receiving a box full of tapes, a spoken testimonial from a dead girl. A girl he knew, a girl he kissed, and a young girl who somehow thinks he belongs on a list of people who pushed her towards suicide. He has to deal with the emotional upheaval caused by this unexpected accusation and the experiences Hannah has been through. Clay also has to deal with the fact he will eventually come face to face with the other people on the list. The people who ignored her, turned her away, ridiculed and assaulted her.

Suicide brings an element of desperation with it, but also one of selfishness. Suicidal thoughts are all encompassing, especially when depression is part and parcel of the equation. There is no room for thoughts of what those left behind will have to deal with. The why, the who and the fact they didn’t see it coming and couldn’t stop it. Even when there is light at the end of the tunnel Hannah is already so enveloped by her own darkness that she chooses self destructive behaviour instead of choosing a path other than death.

I could go on and on about this book. It isn’t just a straightforward ‘everyone was mean to Hannah and that’s why she is dead’ scenario. Hannah isn’t exempt from criticism. She makes mistakes and some dodgy choices, especially in regards to Jessica and Bryce.

Hopefully this read will make someone reconsider their actions and behaviour towards their fellow humans. Teens really need to take on board that actions have consequences, rumours ruin lives, bullying is destructive and suicide is a one-way ticket with no return.

Buy Thirteen Reasons Why at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @jayasherguy @PenguinRHUK

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

the good daughterReading this book was somewhere between watching an intense tennis game with your head whipping back and forth, and being repeatedly slapped round the head with a crowbar. It starts with violence and ends the same way.

Rusty defends the indefensible. He represents the scum of the earth, the killers, the rapists and in general any kind of criminal.

Obviously even criminals have a right to a defence, it is a part of democracy and an important part of western society. They have rights just like every other person, however a lot of people disagree with that, especially when some criminals commit the most heinous of crimes. Unfortunately you can’t kill every murderer or lock away rapists and throw away the key.

Charlotte, Samantha and Gamma become the victims of an act of vengeance when one of his clients decides to make Rusty pay. The evening ends with blood, gore and death. The girls witness the death of their mother and subsequently have to fight for survival, and one of them ends up in a shallow grave.

The story is trauma driven, and takes a close look at the legal system and the issue of morality. Someone has to defend the criminals, regardless of what the majority thinks it is part and parcel of the way democracy works. The question is whether those who defend them should have to risk life and limb to do so. Should they be vilified for simply following the rule of law.

The intensity keeps you on your toes, and the brutality may make you wince, but most of all the emotional turmoil makes this an invigorating read.

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

Follow @SlaughterKarin

Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell

mothersRelationships between mothers and daughters can be anything from beautiful loving friendships to dysfunctional codependency. The element I enjoyed the most about this read was the imperfect and yet realistic relationship between Elsie and Rachel.

Unless you have ever experienced narcissism first-hand, especially at the hands of a parent, then you might not be able to comprehend how accurate this portrayal is. A narcissist will always put there own self first. In fact they put the self in the word selfish. Everything is a competition and they will step over or on you and your feelings to come out on top. Every single time.

So, bearing all that in mind, it isn’t unusual for Elspeth to have cut out the toxic relationship in order to maintain a healthy life for herself. It also explains why she has no real concept of how her mother lived, how she paid for her meals or what secrets she kept hidden from her daughter.

Elsie finds herself experiencing guilt and regret, despite the times her mother has ignored, betrayed and even despised her. Who was this woman really? What kind of secrets did she have that would make someone break in and search her belongings? Too many questions and not enough answers.

I thought the ending was a wee bit like a massive info input in the last few pages, so that could have been planned differently. In fact when you consider the pace and development of the rest of the story, I think the bulk revelation at the end was a little detrimental to the tone and essence of the book.

I also believe Sorell could have built the plot purely on the whole mother and daughter relationship, without the cult and even without the dramatic ending.

Nevertheless Sorell has the heart of a storyteller, so this is just the beginning.

Buy Mothers and Other Strangers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads or any other retailer.

He Said She Said by Erin Kelly

he said she daidThis read certainly has quite a few surprises in store for readers. I liked the concept, perhaps because it is a hot topic and a core setting people really need to take on board.

To be perfectly frank I think the author could have kept the plot as the simple he said/she said scenario and still delivered a thought provoking read. As it stands it evolved from whether a rape actually happened, to a story with the tense undertones of a psychological thriller.

With that in mind I actually enjoyed the read, but wasn’t as enthralled with the ending. I liked the way Kelly drew the story out and created this shadow of doubt around every single character, but was especially interested in the way Beth was perceived.

I know other reviewers found the whole eclipse sub-plot a little tiresome, however I felt it was an intriguing way to show how predictable we are and how easy it is to find someone in this day and age. We leave behind huge digital footprints, so big that they can be followed by anyone with the most basic digital skills.

I felt as if the crux of the plot was how easily Laura was eventually swayed in her opinion of the event. Her instincts told her what was happening, and she called Jamie out for what he was, a rapist. Then suddenly it only takes a trickle of a doubt for her to question what she saw with her own eyes.

Kelly makes some very valid points about rape. The victim is almost always shamed and blamed, whilst the perpetrator is treated like an innocent person in the middle of a set-up to destroy their lives. Even when there are eye-witness statements, it seems as if the victims always have the scales of justice weighted heavily against them.

Kelly does an excellent job of sewing the seeds of doubt in this story. Before you know it a certainty becomes a maybe, and then you may start to question not just the one person who needs the support, but also everyone in her vicinity.

Oh and by the way, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is probably a duck. Just saying.

Buy He Said/She Said at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Today! Blog-Tour: The Deviants by C.J. Skuse

Today it is my pleasure to be part of the Blog-tour for The Deviants by C.J. Skuse. It is a story which will make you root for the merry band of misfits, and I think it will change the way you perceive the word deviant. As per usual Skuse doesn’t disappoint.

About the author

C.J. Skuse was born in 1980 in Westonsuper-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children’s fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. C.J. loves Masterchef,

Gummy Bears and murder sites. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Connect with @CeeJaytheAuthor or @HQYoungAdult and look out for #TheDeviants on Twitter

Follow CJ on Facebook

About the book

Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.

When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?


This book wasn’t at all what I expected. It was a whole lot more. The topics are hard-hitting tough ones and Skuse doesn’t take any prisoners or make it into a candy floss YA event. I have to admit that the story seemed to be steering towards a predictable ending, but the author pulled a rabbit out of a hat and delivered a spectacular twist. The kind of twist you just don’t see coming.

Ella appears to have it all. She is a successful athlete with ambitious goals, and has a happy home and love life. It’s only when you look a little closer and scratch a little off the top of the golden girl’s shiny surface that the slow decay becomes apparent.

She has a growing inner anger, which has started to slip through her usual pleasant facade. She is finding it increasingly difficult to keep the hounds of rage at bay. Her odd behaviour seems to lead all the way back to the accidental death of her boyfriend’s sister.

There is a particular emphasis on the small group of close friends Ella has. The dynamics, loyalties and often dysfunctional relationships between the five of them, and the now missing sixth member of their odd group, are pivotal to the plot. Frenemies, freaks and friendships bind them together.

It’s quite common for certain behaviour patterns to be perceived as nothing more than troublesome teenage years, black sheep emerging in the family or simply a rebellious nature. How many of us would turn around and consider a more nefarious reason for behaviour, which is at first out of character and then suddenly the norm?

It is a good read, albeit a dark and quite serious one. It isn’t filled with sugar canes and puppy dogs tails. Instead it is a tale of insidious betrayal and the fatal repercussions resulting from this perfidy. For me the word deviant will never conjure up the same images again.

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

Read Monster by C.J. Skuse or Sweetpea.