#Blogtour Song for Ria by Michelle Shine

It’s my turn on the Blogtour Song for Ria by Michelle Shine.

About the Author

Michelle Shine was born in London in 1956 and lives in Hampstead. She is the author of Mesmerised, a historical novel about the Impressionists, narrated by their friend, fellow artist, doctor and homeopath, Paul Gachet, and The Subtle Art of Healing which was long listed for the Cinnamon Press novella award in 2007. Her short stories have appeared in Liars League, Grey Sparrow, Ephiphany and several collections. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. Follow @MichelleShine15 on Twitter, Visit michelleshine.co.uk

About the book

Renowned composer Alison Connaught is grieving. Her high-profile, Hollywood-based daughter, Ria, has died of an overdose of the OxyContin that Alison had no idea she was taking. 

Despite the fact that Ria was 27, living thousands of miles away in the US, with a successful acting career, Alison blames herself. What kind of mother doesn’t even know her child is taking opiates?

Alison finds that her grief has muted her. She can no longer play or enjoy her music. She has lost her daughter, and now it seems her career as an award-winning composer for some of the biggest names in the industry is over. On top of this her marriage to Ria’s stepfather, Harvey, is suffering. 

By travelling to the States, meeting Ria’s friends and colleagues, and gaining an insight into the gruelling challenges of Hollywood she begins to form a bridge to both her daughter and her musical muse. She learns that a docu-soap about Ria is in the making. One of Ria’s rivals will be both a producer of the programme and the star.

Gradually Alison begins to make music again but this time she is insistent the music will be hers. Her album is released and   advertised in the docu-soap’s commercial breaks and the accompanying publicity gives Alison the opportunity to tell her side of the story to the world. 

There is still one person she needs to speak to and she confronts Joshua – Ria’s inconstant boyfriend – and Alison can finally reconcile her place in Ria’s story. 

This is a visceral and deeply moving tale of grief and regret. Michelle Shine’s skill as a storyteller brings Alison’s thoughts and actions to life in this stunning novel.


This is the story of a mother searching for an explanation for the death of her daughter. It’s about grief and subjective opinions about relationships. It’s also one about the ability to express and lighten your weight by creating beauty in art – in this case music.

There is always this constant inner dialogue of regrets and what-ifs. If I had or hadn’t done xyz then this would never have happened. Guilt is an overwhelming burden to carry, despite there often being no reason to feel it. In this story that sentiment really comes to a head when Alison is confronted by Ria’s version of their relationship or at the very least the version now told by those left behind to mourn her. The two images are different sides of the same coin – one the glossy image of the reared child and the other the unknown woman she became.

The young woman who dulled the pain, silenced the doubts and hid her real self with an alarming adeptness at deception. Addicts tend to be skilled manipulators and masters of deceit. How hard is it for Alison to accept a certain scenario and simultaneously her own role in it, and I write that with a wee bit of tongue in cheek, because it seems quite fashionable to tell tales of a difficult parent and awful childhood instead of taking some accountability for one’s own actions.

I found this a little hard at times from a pure grief perspective. Fiction and speculation read a certain way when researched well and empathy takes centre stage, however reality and fact would make it a more poignant exploration of grief, guilt and loss.

Buy Song for Ria at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎RedDoor Press pub date 13 Jun. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Better Brother by Simon Gravatt

It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Better Brother by Simon Gravatt.

About the Author

Simon Gravatt is a first-time novelist who lives in South London. He’s drawn from personal experience as a brother and business owner to write his tale of sibling rivalry and the combustibility of small business. Simon is married with two adult children. Follow @SimonGravatt, Visit simongravatt.net

About the book

Michael Merriweather despises his brother. He never wants to see Jack again. But then their father dies and leaves a will that requires the warring siblings to run the family funeral business together as a condition of them receiving their inheritance. As a result, the brothers face a series of difficult decisions that will change their lives.

Michael and Jack are at each other from the word go. Their opposing views on how to run the business descends into a very personal conflict that will have catastrophic consequences. Soon, all that matters to each of them is a burning desire to come out on top and prove himself to be the better brother.

Layers of festering resentment are gradually unpeeled in this darkly comic tale of sibling rivalry, laced with the power, passion, reprisals and everyday friction of family business.


Ahh, sibling rivalry. This natural sense of needing to best the other, but for what purpose in the end. It’s an issue that can cloud relationships, and often those relationships turn toxic or become a major stress factor.

For Michael and Jack the truth of their strained relationship is about to be tried, tested and put on display for the world to see. The death of their father, and subsequently his intention to create a bridge between the two, leads to upheaval and the kind of confrontation they have both been avoiding.

The story also explores the topic of acceptance, forgiveness, power and dysfunctional family relationships. Are the brothers primed for their reaction to each other, making a clash inevitable, and should the finger be pointing elsewhere because of that. There is a book club question in the back that I found quite intriguing, whether the fact they were two brothers mattered, and not two sisters, thereby exploring preconceived ideas about sibling rivalry and contention in the frame of a specific gender.

I wonder if this is the end or whether the author will revisit the two brothers as they grow, or not, and age? Explore what happens at the end of the book a bit more. Aside from giving readers the fraught tension between two brothers and their emotional warfare, it’s a read that has a serious reflective side to the fictional plot dynamic – one that perhaps many can relate to.

Buy The Better Brother at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: RedDoor Press, £8.99 PB. Buy at Amazon comAt Red Door Press.

#BlogTour The Night Lawyer by Alex Churchill

Today it’s the last day of the BlogTour The Night Lawyer by Alex Churchill.

About the Author

Alex Churchill was a barrister, specialising in serious crime for over three decades, and a writer. Follow @_AlexChurchill on Twitteron Goodreadson AmazonBuy The Night Lawyer

About the book

Sophie Angel is the night lawyer. Once a week, she’s the one who decides what the papers can and can’t say. During the day, she’s a barrister. She struggles for justice in a system that’s close to collapse, where she confronts the most dangerous aspects of humanity.

Her life changes when a wealthy Russian offers her the biggest case of her career, a rape trial with a seemingly innocent client. But is someone manipulating Sophie from the shadows? With her marriage under strain and haunted by nightmares from the past, Sophie must find the answer to these questions before it’s too late.

This is a story about betrayal, trust, guilt and innocence, played out from the courtrooms of London to the darkest corners of Soviet era Moscow.


Barrister by day, night lawyer by night. Sounds like a legal superhero, but it’s just Sophie Angel going about her business. She has a handsome husband and a great job, until one day things begin to go awry.

She has unwittingly attracted the attention of a dangerous escaped convict. A man obsessed with her. Simultaneously she has to deal with some memories from her past resurfacing and hidden secrets rising up to consume her daily life. Luckily she has a supportive husband to help her overcome any problems, right?

Churchill makes some really valid points, which are incorporated into Eva’s story, about the legal system failing too many people. Cases are judged in the court of social media, news media and the public in general. There is no way it doesn’t influence the decisions of those involved. There also seems to be an emphasis on protecting the rights of the accused and perpetrators, as opposed to those of the victim. Sexual crimes and violence towards women appear to be heavily slanted on the scales of justice, and not in favour of the victims.

There are multiple threads that run throughout the story, which can sometimes end up becoming a vying for attention kind of issue. Too many cooks in the kitchen sort of thing. Churchill doesn’t let that happen though and because of that it becomes a smooth riveting legal read.

Buy The Night Lawyer at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher Red Door Press; pub date 11 June 2020 -£8.99 PB. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Philosopher’s Daughters by Alison Booth

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Philosopher’s Daughters by Alison Booth.

About the Author

Bornin Melbourne and brought up in Sydney, Alison spent over two decades studying, living and working in the UK before returning to Australia some fifteen years ago.

Her ancestors came to Australia from England and Scotland at the end of the 1800s, before Federation in 1901. Indeed, in 1891, when the novel starts, 32% of the Australian population were born overseas, mostly in the UK. Alison grew up fascinated by the thought that Australia once comprised small colonies, teetering on the edge of the vast continent, and wanted in this new novel to travel back in time to view it through the eyes of two strong young women. The tales of Alison’s late father, Norman Booth, about his years in the Northern Territory also awakened her interest in the Northern Territory.

Her debut novel, Stillwater Creek, was Highly Commended in the 2011 ACT Book of the Year Award, and afterwards published in Reader’s Digest elect Editions in Asia and in Europe. Alison’s other novels are The Indigo Sky (2011), A Distant Land (2012), and A Perfect Marriage (2018).

Alison is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Australian National University. In November 2019, Alison was made Fellow of the Econometric Society, a prestigious international society for the advancement of economic theory in its relation to statistics and mathematics.

Follow @booth_alison on Twitter, on Facebookon Goodreads, Visit alisonbooth.netBuy The Philosopher’s Daughters

About the book

A tale of two very different sisters whose 1890s voyage from London into remote outback Australia becomes a journey of self-discovery, set against a landscape of wild beauty and savage dispossession.

London in 1891: Harriet Cameron is a talented young artist whose mother died when she was barely five. She and her beloved sister Sarah were brought up by their father, radical thinker James Cameron. After adventurer Henry Vincent arrives on the scene, the sisters’ lives are changed forever. Sarah, the beauty of the family, marries Henry and embarks on a voyage to Australia. Harriet, intensely missing Sarah, must decide whether to help her father with his life’s work or devote herself to painting.

When James Cameron dies unexpectedly, Harriet is overwhelmed by grief. Seeking distraction, she follows Sarah to Australia, and afterwards into the Northern territory outback, where she is alienated by the casual violence and great injustices of outback life.

Her rejuvenation begins with her friendship with an Aboriginal stockman and her growing love for the landscape. But this fragile happiness is soon threatened by murders at a nearby cattle station and by a menacing station hand seeking revenge.


It’s easy to forget the history of Australia, especially when the narrative is usually one of sunshine, waves and living life with more joy. Spiders the size of dogs and in general many things that can kill you. Oh wait, those aren’t positives.

My point is the history behind the building of the country we know now is often whitewashed and swept under the carpet. More than 270 frontier massacres over the space of 140 years. A state-sanctioned attempt to eradicate Aboriginal people. The conspiracy of police and settlers to keep silent and change the narrative of these awful events and history. That’s not what people think of when Australia is mentioned.

Booth incorporates this conspiracy of silence into her story of two sisters, who try to rebuild their lives in Australia and find themselves confronted with atrocities and hatred. Harriet in particular connects emotionally to the fate of the indigenous people and creates bonds that people frown upon.

It’s historical fiction with factual history at the core.

The strength of this story is the way the author  gives her readers an excellent visual with her descriptions. Really capturing the relentless heat, the difficult geographical conditions, the extreme isolation and harsh living conditions.

Booth also speaks to the inequality between the different genders, women’s rights, violence and the amount of strength settlers needed to live, survive and eventually thrive in their country of choice. It’s a multi-layered story, so as a reader you have to take a breath and let it sink in, and sometimes read between the lines of this ambitious historical novel.

Buy The Philosopher’s Daughters at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Red Door Press; 2 April 2020.