#BlogTour Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou. It’s a murder mystery with the vibe of a psychological thriller, and it’s women’s fiction.

About the Author

Laurie Petrou has a PhD in Communication and Culture, and is an Associate Professor at Ryerson’s RTA School of Media in Toronto, where she is also the Director of the Masters of Media Production program. She has given several TEDx talks on subjects including gender and rejection. Laurie was the inaugural winner of the Half the World Global Literati Award in 2016, a prize that honours unpublished work featuring female protagonists, for her novel Sister of Mine. She now lives in a small town in Ontario wine country with her husband, a wine maker, and their two sons.

Follow @lauriepetrou on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Facebook, Visit lauriepetrou.com

Buy Sister of Mine

About the book

Two Sisters. One Fire. A Secret that won’t burn out.

The Grayson sisters are trouble. Everyone in their small town knows it. But no-one can know of the secret that binds them together. Hattie is the light. Penny is the darkness. Together, they have balance.

But one night the balance is toppled. A match is struck. A fire is started. A cruel husband is killed. The potential for a new life flickers in the fire’s embers, but resentment, guilt, and jealousy suffocate like smoke. Their lives have been engulfed in flames – will they ever be able to put them out?Review

The relationships between sisters are often complicated and fraught with emotion. When it comes to Peggy and Hattie it is also a bond created through guilt, anger, fear and the need to protect each other.

Peggy always feels as if she has to keep Hattie safe, despite being the typical older sister who finds her little sister annoying. Hattie is the unpredictable hothead with a penchant for getting into trouble.

They have a dysfunctional codependent relationship, which starts to disintegrate when the secrets they share start to take their toll on the two of them. What are they hiding? Will Peggy let Hattie blackmail her into the ultimate sacrifice?

Petrou delivers a nice little double-twist at the end, which puts the whole story into perspective. It’s a whirlwind of emotions and filled with haunting feelings of inadequacy, but also takes on difficult topics like domestic violence, misogyny and surrogacy.

It’s a murder mystery with the vibe of a psychological thriller, and it’s women’s fiction.

It’s an engrossing read, especially in regards to the sister’s relationship. The animosity, bitterness and paranoia is countered by the sisterly bond the two of them share. It’s definitely a book I recommend, because I know exactly what it’s like to share that type of bond. Messed up and hard to sever.

Buy Sister of Mine at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: No Exit Press pub date 20 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at No Exit Press.

#BlogTour How To Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour How to Say Goodbye by Katy Colins. It’s women’s fiction with a lively tone and an emotional thread woven throughout.

About the Author

Katy Colins is a qualified journalist with articles published in Company Magazine and The Daily Star she crossed sides to work in Public Relations before selling all she owned to backpack solo around South East Asia and finally put her thoughts into words, writing as she travelled.

Her experiences inspired her to pen ‘The Lonely Hearts Travel Club’ series and saw her labelled the ‘Backpacking Bridget Jones’ by the global media.

Katy currently lives by the sea in France where she is on a one woman mission to educate the French about the necessity and technicalities of making a good cup of tea. When she is not writing about romance, travel and adventure, she loves travelling, catching up with family and friends and convincing herself that her croissant addiction isn’t out of control – just yet.

You can find out more about Katy, her writing and her travels on her blog www.notwedordead.com

Follow Katy Colins – @Notwedordead on Twitter, on Goodreads, on AmazonBuy How To Say Goodbye

About the book

No-one is ever happy to see Grace Salmon.

As a funeral arranger, she’s responsible for steering strangers through the hardest day of their lives. It’s not a task many would want – but, for Grace, giving people the chance to say a proper goodbye to the ones they love is the most important job in the world.

From the flowers in the church to the drinks served at the wake,Grace knows it’s the personal touches that count – and it’s amazing what you can find out about someone from their grieving relatives … or their Facebook page. But when she accidentally finds out too much about someone who’s died, Grace is finally forced to step out of the shadows… and start living.

Review

I’m not sure a lot of us give any thought to the people who ensure our loved ones get a good send off. It’s really the last thing you want to think of. The thought of somebody you love dying and then having to arrange how everyone else gets to say goodbye to them. In a way the funeral isn’t for the dearly departed, but rather for the living who grieve them.

I’ll admit I have asked my mother to plan her funeral. I was pulling her leg a little, but it actually gave her the chance to think about the way she wanted people to say goodbye to her. Her playlist is something else I tell ya! Saying that, lately she has been telling me it’s perfectly fine to pop her in a cardboard box and whip her round to the crematorium and Bob’s your uncle. (Apparently that’s legal here).

Grace is the kind of character readers tend to warm to, because she is like all of us. She is perfect with all of her imperfections. Part of her is afraid to live and to love. Hindered by the memories of a lost love and unwilling to confront what is keeping her from moving on.

I’m intentionally not going to go into the most emotional part of the book. I think It’s best readers experience that for themselves. What I will say is that it makes this more than just Chick Lit and it ventures soundly into women’s fiction.

The group meeting aspect of the story is emotional and heartfelt. In fact the whole book is, despite the light-hearted humour and the realistic characters. It’s women’s fiction with a lively tone and an emotional thread woven throughout.

I think one of my favourite paragraphs by far is the last one. It just speaks volumes about how far Grace has come and the difference in the way she sees life and lives it. Something so simple, and yet perfect in every way. It’s a lovely read.

Buy How To Say Goodbye at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost. It’s a contemporary read and women’s fiction. A story of self-discovery and learning to bold enough to take what you want.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win a paperback copy of The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost (Open Internationally)

About the Author

Kate Frost writes character-driven women’s fiction and romances, alongside Time Shifters, an award-winning time travel adventure trilogy for 9-12 year olds. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she’s also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates. She has eight books published, including her Greek and north Norfolk set series, The Butterfly Storm. The Baobab Beach Retreat is the first in what will be a series of foreign-set romances. Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, their five-year-old son (who still loves waking up before 5am), and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Follow @Kactus77 on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Instagram, on Facebook, Visit kate-frost.com

Buy The Baobab Beach Retreat 

About the book

An ex-husband, two potential lovers, one reckless decision. Will Connie ever be happy in love?

When Connie Stone leaves behind a cheating husband and heartache in the UK for her aunt’s beach retreat, the last thing she wants is for her life to once again be complicated by men.

Yet when her past follows her to Tanzania, her time to heal is short-lived and a selfish act shatters her hopes for a fresh start. An unexpected return to the UK reveals a long-hidden family secret that Connie has to deal with before she can decide the direction her life should take.

Getting over a broken heart was never going to be easy. Can Connie put the past to rest and find peace and love in a country far from home?

Review

Underneath the frivolity and light-hearted moments are moments and topics with real emotional depth. It’s a read that ventures into real emotional depth and yet manages to maintain an essence of a more lighter read. It’s an interesting balancing act.

The strength of the story is the fact the character isn’t a young attractive woman stumbling into one brilliant scenario after the other. Instead Connie is in her thirties recovering from the implosion of her marriage and grieving the children she was unable to have.

It’s all about discovering her inner power and being strong enough to say no to the people holding her back and embracing the ones who want to move forward with her.

The story is enhanced by the beautiful surroundings and the feeling of freedom Connie embraces when she is at the retreat. The nostalgia and sense of coming home. All of those things and a blossoming romance makes this a lovely read.

Simultaneously it is also a tale filled with grief and sadness. Connie’s struggle with her miscarriages is an emotion that weaves in and out throughout the story. Never quite leaving her alone at any time and always sat there waiting to drag her back into a dark hole.

It’s a contemporary read and women’s fiction. A story of self-discovery and learning to be bold enough to take what you want. Also one about what it’s like to be a woman when the first bloom of youth has faded and you either rise from the ashes like a phoenix willing to embrace the next stage in life or you accept the invisibility imposed upon you by others.

Buy The Baobab Beach Retreat at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Lemon Tree Press; pub date 22 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win a paperback copy of The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost (Open Internationally)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

#BlogTour The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick

Today it’s my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick. It’s a contemporary read, women’s fiction with a beautiful nostalgic feel to it.

About the Author

‘Writer, ex-pat expert, wife, mother of three, and dreamer turned doer….

Award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger, Under A Cornish Sky, A Cornish Christmas Carol (novella), The Returning Tide and One Cornish Summer. After nine international moves, I’m a bit of a global nomad. It’s no wonder my heart remains in Cornwall. My latest book – The Path To The Sea is out 6 June 2019.’

Follow @liz_fenwick on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Facebook, Visit lizfenwick.com

Buy The Path to the Sea

About the book

Sometimes going home is just the beginning…

Boskenna, the beautiful, imposing house standing on the Cornish cliffs, means something different to each of the Trewin women.

For Joan, as a glamorous young wife in the 1960s, it was a paradise where she and her husband could entertain and escape a world where no one was quite what they seemed – a world that would ultimately cost their marriage and end in tragedy.

Diana, her daughter, still dreams of her childhood there – the endless blue skies and wide lawns, book-filled rooms and parties, the sound of the sea at the end of the coastal path – even the family she adored was shattered there.

And for the youngest, broken-hearted Lottie, heading home in the August traffic, returning to Boskenna is a welcome escape from a life gone wrong in London, but will mean facing a past she’d hoped to forget.

As the three women gather in Boskenna for a final time, the secrets hidden within the beautiful old house will be revealed in a summer that will leave them changed for ever.

Review

The story takes place over multiple timelines, which isn’t unusual per se, but Fenwick has created characters who are split between those timelines. The result is women during different periods of their lives, which makes them appear as if they are completely different people.

It’s an interesting message, although it’s probably one each of us knows deep down inside. I am now no longer the girl I was at 13, the young 20 year old completely aware of herself, the driven and sensuous 30 year old or the more tempered and relaxed 40 year old woman. Each of those women is me, but only me in that moment in time. That’s exactly the way the author has written her main characters.

Three generations of women have something more than blood and genetics in common. Joan, Diana and Lottie share lovely memories of the house called Boskenna, which stands on the Cornish cliffs. Boskenna plays a pivotal part in each woman’s story. Their experiences and their emotions are all linked to this place that has inspired such loyalty and feelings of belonging.

Towards the end of her life Joan starts to reveal fragments of memories she doesn’t really want anyone to know about. The reader is taken back in time to a place that each one of the women perceives in their own way.

I really enjoyed the way Fenwick gave the story an aura of a cold war mystery come spy tale. Very much in keeping with the 60s cold war setting of Joan’s part of the story. It actually reminded me of the colonialism meets alluring scenery and is supported by a stellar cast of a Christie, but with a deep dark mystery instead of the butler did it with a candlestick in the library scenario.

It’s a contemporary read, women’s fiction with a beautiful nostalgic feel to it. I really enjoyed the way everything was intricately woven into a basket of suspicion, pain and ultimately love.

Buy The Path to the Sea at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 6 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Art of Deception by Louise Mangos

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Art of Deception by Louise Mangos. It’s contemporary and women’s fiction with elements of crime fiction.

About the Author

Louise Mangos grew up in the UK but has spent more than half her life in Switzerland. Her debut psychological thriller “Strangers on a Bridge” was a finalist in the Exeter Novel Prize and long listed for the Bath Novel Award. Her second novel “The Art of Deception” will be published in June 2019.

She lives on an Alp with her Kiwi husband and two sons, and when she’s not writing you can find her on the cross-country ski loop or swimming in the lake, depending on the season. She also writes short stories and flash fiction which have won prizes and been published in various anthologies. She is currently studying for her MA in crime writing at UEA.

Follow @LouiseMangos on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon,

Buy The Art of Deception

About the book

Art college dropout Lucie arrives in a Swiss ski resort looking for work – but instead finds Mathieu.

Handsome, charismatic and from a good family, Matt seems like the perfect man. But as Lucie soon discovers, he has a dark side – one that will drive their relationship to a dramatic conclusion, and tear the life she has built for herself and their son apart.

Left fighting for her freedom in a foreign prison, and starting to lose her grip on reality, Lucie must summon all of her strength to uncover the truth and be reunited with her son before it’s too late.

The clock is ticking . . . but who can she trust?

Review

‘When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time’. I can’t say this loud enough, because an abuser, even a manipulative charming one with lots of experience, will show you what he or she is in some way or other. You just have to take off the pink-tinted glasses long enough to register it.

Following on from that, when all your friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances try to warn you or tell you what they know or see, then listen carefully. Don’t ignore what you probably already know deep in your heart. The other side of that coin is the fact many women and men, that includes young people, aren’t always aware what constitutes abuse, thereby are unable to extricate themselves from those type of relationships because they don’t recognise abuse for what it is.

Lucie chooses not to listen and to ignore the warning signs. She is a young girl in the throes of young love. Captivated by the attention she receives. Matt doesn’t fall in love or in lust really, he just sees another innocent and vulnerable young woman he can manipulate and control.

Lucie ends up behind bars for the death of her husband. Separated from her young son and a victim of a vigorous and perhaps biased legal system.

Mangos does something specific when it comes to the abuse, which seems quite intentional as the read progresses, it’s written as if it is secondary to the situation. The acceleration isn’t noted per se, but rather noted more in Lucie’s hesitation and reading of his body language and facial expressions. Now why is this important, this seemingly lackadaisical approach to describing that aspect of the relationship and story.

Whether intentional or not it portrays how this type of abusive relationship slips into a daily normality, hence it’s not always at the forefront of those flashbacks in the past. Abuse is more complex than it appears, which is why the outside often don’t understand and are critical of those being abused.

It’s contemporary and women’s fiction with elements of crime fiction. For me the question at the forefront of this story is whether the end result death is justified when you believe your life or the life of your child is in danger. The problem is that domestic abuse still isn’t seen as the real danger it is, which is why so many of the abused feel they have no other choice than the extreme.

Mangos gives the reader a multi-faceted story, and draws from multiple genres to create a thought-provoking read.

Buy The Art of Deception at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date Paperback release 13 June 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Because of You by Hélene Fermont

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Because of You by Hélene Fermont. It’s contemporary and women’s fiction.

About the Author

Hélene Fermont writes character-driven psychological crime fiction with a Scandi Noir flavour. Known for her explosive, pacy narrative and storylines, she has published three novels – Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret – and two short story collections – The Love of Her Life and Who’s Sorry Now? Her fourth novel is due for release in the summer of 2019. After 20 years in London, Hélene recently returned to her native Sweden where she finds the unspoiled scenery and tranquillity a therapeutic boost for creativity.

Enjoying a successful career as a Psychologist, when she’s not working her ‘day job’, Hélene spends her time writing, with friends and family, or playing with her beloved cat, Teddy. All three novels can be purchased via her website helenefermont.com/books/

Follow @helenefermont on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest,

Buy Because of You

About the book

How desperate are you to get the one you love?

When Hannah and Ben meet at a friend’s party, he knows she’s The One. But Hannah’s in an intense relationship with Mark and planning to return to her native Sweden to embark on a teaching career.

Desperate to make Ben fall in love with her, rich spoilt heiress Vanessa sets in motion a devious string of events that ultimately changes the course of four people’s lives indefinitely.

Hannah is the love of Ben’s life, yet Vanessa will stop at nothing to claim the man she is convinced is her destiny.

Because of You is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny.

Review

Before Hannah meets Ben she has a rather tumultuous relationship with Mark. In fact Mark takes up over half of the book.

Let me just say this; Ben, Mark and Linus aren’t exactly excellent examples of male behaviour, yes even Ben now and again. Hannah is inexperienced, which is probably why she has no idea why their behaviour isn’t always that of a gentleman.

Mark’s actions and behaviour aren’t romantic. He has no idea what consent means, he stalks, intimidates and emotionally blackmails Hannah. Unfortunately his behaviour is perceived as that of an enthusiastic and love-struck man. It’s not. Nothing he does can be excused or waved away.

There is some semblance of acknowledgement by Hannah about his behaviour as time goes on, however her decisions are fuelled more by the anti-Semitism that comes her way. The story shows us her journey from a young girl to a woman of experience and strength. The people who have helped to nurture and define her, and the people who tried to keep her from evolving.

One could think that the author believes the harassment and behaviour tropes of the men in this story are romantic, hence expected to titillate and give readers a warm fuzzy feeling. ‘Aww, he is just being a manly man and the silly woman doesn’t know what’s good for her’. Instead it’s a way of shoving the inequality and abusive nature of the relationship right into the spotlight.

It’s contemporary and women’s fiction. For me it didn’t fall into the category of Scandi Noir. It also doesn’t fit into romance, however it is a contemporary read about abuse, anti-Semitism, consent, manipulation, chauvinism, privilege and jealousy. That paints a pretty bleak picture I suppose, but the story also features strong family bonds, friendships, coming of age and discovery of self. It levels out the more darker aspects of the story.

I hope readers, especially younger ones, take something away from this read. The ability to recognise abuse, coercion and oppression when they experience it, and that it has nothing to do with love or romance and everything to do with control.

Buy Because of You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Fridhem Publishing; pub date 15 Oct. 2018. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Den by Abi Maxwell

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Den by Abi Maxwell. It’s historical fiction, and it is also women’s fiction.About the Author

Abi Maxwell is the author of an acclaimed story collection, Lake People, and her fiction has also appeared in McSweeney’s. She studied writing at the University of Montana and now lives in New Hampshire, where she grew up, with her husband and son.

Buy The DenAbout the book

A hypnotic story of youth, sex and power.

A story of two women cast out by the same community though separated by a hundred years. A story of two extraordinary, magnetic women and their disappearances – a hundred years apart – from

the small New England town they call home.

Henrietta and Jane are growing up in a farmhouse on the outskirts of town, their mother a remote artist, their father in thrall to the folklore and legend of their corner of New England. When Henrietta falls under the spell of Kaus, an outsider and petty criminal, Jane takes to trailing the couple, spying on their trysts, until one night, Henrietta vanishes into the woods.

Elspeth and Claire are sisters separated by an ocean. Elspeth’s pregnancy at seventeen meant she was quickly married and sent away from her Scottish village to make a new life in America. When she comes to the attention of the local mill owner, a series of wrenching and violent events unfolds, culminating in her disappearance.

As Jane and Claire search in their own times for their missing sisters, each uncovers the strange legend of Cold Thursday, and of a family apparently transformed into coyotes. But what does his myth really mean?

Are their sisters dead, destroyed by the men who desired them? Or have they made new lives, elsewhere, beyond the watchful eyes of the community they longed to escape?

Review

At the beginning of the book and during the first few chapters the story of Henrietta is narrated by her younger sister Jane. I must admit it was a great intro and paved the way for the rest of the story.

She paints a picture of her older sister Henrietta, the Lolita. The precocious teenager who is discovering her power over both boys and men. Henrietta treats her sister with disdain, well actually everyone, with that special brand of teenage disdain.

Although the women have a lot in common there are certain differences. Henrietta’s story is a coming-of-age one, whereas when the reader meets Elspeth she has already overcome those stages in her life. The two of them share the fact they were both pregnant as teenagers. Elspeth is sent overseas under a cloud of scandal and Henrietta just disappears one day.

In a way it is an example of the time periods that lay between them. How the woman in the 1850s has less choice and more obstacles in her way than the teenager in the more modern era. On the other side of the lives of these women are the sisters. Jane and Claire, who have been left behind by Elspeth and Henrietta.

Whilst the reader learns what the disappearance means to the sister left holding up the rest of the family and the impact it has on those left behind, they are also eager for Henrietta and Elspeth to be safe and independent.

It’s historical fiction, and it is also women’s fiction. A story that speaks of oppression, rape, manipulation and also of strength, perseverance and a strong will to survive. At the same time it also takes a look at the often complex relationships between sisters. How discord and disagreements doesn’t negate the bond between them. Women are the glue that keeps families together, and yet they are also the weapon that has the capability to destroy them.

I really enjoyed the read. I especially enjoyed the voice of Jane and the relationship between her and Henrietta. It was realistic in its assessment of the complexity that exists between two women bound by blood.

Buy The Den at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: Tinder Press Hardback; pub date 16th May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.