Book reviews, Womens fiction

Strings Attached by Erin Reinelt – Book Review




Straight-laced Jean has always done what’s expected of her – by her traditional parents, by her demonic boss, and by her overgrown baby of an ex-boyfriend.

Until now.

Taking her life into her own hands, she decides to do something that takes her out of her comfort zone; a woman heels-over-head, and not head-over-heels, in love. When Jean meets married-but-open pianist Gabriel, she explores all that modern romance has to offer… but can relationships last without entangled hearts being broken?

Jean is about to find out.


This is a fun read…..a modern look at the more free thinking approach to life, sex and relationships.

Jean has a boyfriend, Charlie, a charming, but thoroughly useless POS….when he pees in Jean’s velvet stilettos, she’s had enough…when he drunkenly sets fire to a wedding marquee she finally dumps him….

“On her bad days, which were becoming more frequent, she worried that her only life skill was clearing up clusterfucks left by grown men.”

She decides she’s not a doormat anymore and plans to live life how she wants it to be…… “‘What would you do if you stopped living by other people’s rules?’”

This covers everything from a polyamorous marriage to sex parties and most things in between, marvellously funny, full of sarcastic wit, embarrassing moments, sex and life. A present day tale of female liberation, honest, frank and fun.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.


Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Red Word by Sarah Henstra – Book Review



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.



Well where do I start?….

This is not an easy read but it’s totally mesmerising…’s about behaviour, about what is acceptable and what’s not……but just who makes that decision?

Do men decide what is acceptable? Do women? Or is it culture?

“If I get drunk I become rapeable. If I take my clothes off I become rapeable. If I leave your room at night when your passed out I become rapeable”

Karen is at Uni in the US, she’s enjoying the Uni life to the full, but one morning she wakes up in a garden after a drunken night at a frat party.  She’s at the house that had advertised for a housemate and she’d intended applying but had wanted to make a good first impression, but here she is grass stained and hungover….

After a weird interview, she is accepted into a fiercely feminist house….and she’s a little in awe but wants to be the same…..she is conflicted though.

What follows is a story, while set in the 1990’s is so relevant today … the question of consent, can a woman under the influence of alcohol or drugs give consent? or is it that a man will take advantage of the situation for their own ends? It’s also about the ‘rape culture’….the ‘She was asking for it dressing like that’ statement…

In this tale, I wonder if the feminists take things too far to make a point, but then the despicable behaviour by the frat boys is accepted as the norm by society …so how else can these behaviours be changed?

An incredibly thought provoking tale, that reminded me of Fay Weldon’s books a little. This is going to stay with me for a long time …for me this is a must read and a favourite for 2019….

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here




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.



“An aesthetically arresting interrogation of rape culture on campus…Timely and brilliant.” –Kirkus Reviews

“A compulsive and perfectly formed novel reminiscent of The Secret History.” –New Statesman

“The Red Word will get you fuming, laughing, cheering, and most of all, thinking.” –Cosmopolitan

“A timely, telling look at rape culture on campus, Sarah Henstra’s The Red Word boldly goes to the places where memoir can’t but fiction can — and gives way to one hell of a realistic narrative.” –Pop Sugar

“The Red Word examines rape culture on college campuses with a precision and gentleness that few novels have achieved. . . While The Red Word is entertaining, it’s also a sobering reminder of the horrors inflicted on women, trans, and nonbinary people on college campuses.” —Bitch

“The smartest, most provocative novel I’ve read in a long time. Sarah Henstra dives headlong into some murky, turbulent waters — gender politics, campus sexual assault, complicity, moral responsibility — and emerges with a book that’s as shocking as it is essential.” – Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children and Nine Inches

“The Red Word is set in the 1990s but speaks directly to the present feminist moment. Sarah Henstra takes us into two worlds: that of Women’s Studies classes and lesbian pagan rituals, and of frat boys and S&M theme parties. As I watched Karen struggle with politics, power, and her own culpability in the fallout of I could not put this book down.” — Darcey Steinke, author of Suicide Blonde and Sister Golden Hair


Winner the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

“The Red Word echoes Donna Tartt’s The Secret History –

but there is nothing derivative about Henstra’s tale.

The Red Word is a beautifully written, gripping take on the battle between the sexes”

The Financial Times





Published by Tramp Press in trade paperback, 21st March 2018, £12.99


The Red Word captures beautifully the feverish binarism of campus politics and the headlong rush of youth toward new friends, lovers and life-altering ideas.

With strains of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot, Alison Lurie’s Truth and Consequences and Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, Sarah Henstra’s debut novel arrives on the wings of furies.


Rape culture.

The male gaze.



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  ​ tramppress

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Fifty at 5pm Collections by Morgen Bailey – Book Review



This collection comprises five volumes of fifty stories written from a variety of prompts and published on Morgen’s blog:, where

you can still read the list of prompts – a story a day for nearly a year.

In this book there are stories of revenge, luck and misfortune, sharp edges, sticky red hands, no faded circle of skin, family heirlooms, Chelsea buns, and alien hums.

We meet a generous aunt, men in uniform, a fan of Hawaiian shirts, untidy teenagers, characters looking to improve themselves, a young girl with wings, a modern-day Cleopatra, and a curious fortune teller.

These stories all go to show what can be done with a prompt, a few hours, and a colourful imagination.


Each of these 250 short stories are the result of Morgen Bailey’s a-prompt-a-day. Some are only a few lines long and others a couple of paragraphs or a little more, but all can be read in a few minutes.

There’s all sorts here, from stories of children, humour …(I loved the Adam Ant) thrillers and so much more.. all are very different and just shows the astounding creativity of Morgen …perfect to dip into while having a coffee and,  I think, a great way to maybe spark an idea.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

Author Bio:


Morgen Bailey (Morgen with an E) is an author (of novels, short stories, writing and editing guides), freelance editor (for publishers and indie authors), writing tutor (in person and online), Writers’ Forum magazine ‘Competitive Edge’ columnist, blogger, speaker, and co-founder of Northants Authors. The former Chair of three writing groups, she has judged the H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, RONE, as well as the BBC Radio 2, BeaconLit, and Althorp Literary Festival children’s short story competitions. She also runs her own monthly 100-word competition. 2018 events include talks and workshops at Troubador’s Self Publishing Conference speakers, workshops and panels at Delapre Book Festival, interviewing and workshops at BeaconLit, and NAWG Fest with her ‘Editing your Fiction’ weekend residential course. Morgen can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and many others. Her blog is, and email address




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Book reviews, Crime thriller, Womens fiction

The Case by Leopold Borstinski – Book Review



One Private Eye. One Case. One sackful of trouble.

When Jake agrees to take a package across America, he doesn’t know if he’ll live to tell the tale. If the CIA, the Feds and the British Secret Service don’t get him then the mob will. How’s a cowardly private dick going to survive in these bloody times?

The Case is a stand-alone pulp noir novel. A wry take on the jaw-dropping violent side of private investigator life by Leopold Borstinski, writer of the six-book Lagotti Family series.



This is classic pulp noir, a Private Investigator who gets caught up with the Mob, putting himself in more danger than you can shake a stick at….

Our PI is investigating ‘The Case’ ….a huge case that will hopefully bring some reward……with plenty of background into previous cases you really get a feel for Jake as a character.

This is a dark, violent and at times sexy and shows the seedy and unpleasant side to the characters and the lifestyle they lead….a compelling and entertaining read.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

About the Author

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.


Social Media:




Amazon Author Page:

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and ebook formats by Sobriety Press on 23rd June 2019.


Book reviews, Womens fiction

It’s Not You, It’s Him by Sophie Ranald – Book Review



New Year’s Eve. The most overrated night of the year, right? I have to get through a night of enforced fun, drink all the prosecco and talk about new beginnings. But I don’t want new beginnings. I want my old beginning back.

It’s been ten days, two hours and forty-three minutes since Tansy got dumped. Two heartbreaking weeks since Renzo, who made her weak at the knees and dizzy with excitement, found out Tansy’s secret – and ended it on the spot.

Since then, she’s spent every evening scrolling through their old photos, drunk texted him twenty-six times (he stopped reading after five), and lost count of how many packets of Kleenex she’s cried her way through.

That’s where Operation Get Renzo Back comes in. She ropes in a new wing-woman, maxes out her credit card and accidentally-on-purpose bumps into him at every opportunity. Oh, and she finds a fake boyfriend, as you do…

But while she’s busy pretending, Tansy’s plan is thrown a major curveball. She has to learn the hard way that it’s not her, it’s him – and that sometimes, a break-up can end up being the making of you.

A fresh, funny and fabulous novel for anyone who has been dumped, got a post-break-up haircut, stalked an ex on Facebook, and then realised they were WAY better off without them. Fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Matt Dunn will love this laugh-out-loud read.


It’s Not You It’s Him is the story of Tansy…when Renzo told he loved her, Tansy felt the same but just had to tell him about her past….he dumped her there and then leaving her to rerun the scene over and over in her head.

Her flat mates are having a quiet evening to see in the New Year…..with lots of Prosecco flowing, she makes a New Years Resolution, she’s going to get Renzo back…….but after 26 texts (some drunken……we’ve all done it!!) and no response….she starts to make her plans…

She gets herself in a bit of a mess with her finances, but carries on her plan, arranging to be in the same places as Renzo by ‘accident’…..when this doesn’t work she starts to realise, maybe the problem is not her but him…

Tansy starts to grow up and realise the special someone may be closer than you think …

An amusing read but also it touches on the more emotive subjects of eating disorders, gambling and the exploitation of low paid workers…..thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my in honest, unbiased review.

Author Bio:


Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself. Her second, third and fourth novels followed, and The Truth About Gemma Grey was released in summer 2017. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion, finance and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat.


To find out about Sophie’s forthcoming releases and get access to free books and special offers, sign up to her newsletter at or

Author Social Media Links:


Twitter: @SophieRanald  




Title: It’s Not You It’s Him

Author: Sophie Ranald

Publication Day: 18/06/2019

Buy Links:


Apple Books:



Book reviews, Graphic novels, Womens fiction

Horizontal Collaboration by Navie and Carole Maurel – Book Review



“Horizontal Collaboration” is a term used to describe the sexual and romantic relationships that some French women had with members of the occupying German forces during World War II. In this poignant, female-centered graphic novel created by writer/artist duo Carole Maurel and Mademoiselle Navie, the taboo of “sleeping with the enemy” is explored through the story of a passionate, and forbidden, affair. In June 1942, married Rose (whose husband is a prisoner of war) intervenes in the detainment of her Jewish friend and then accidentally embarks on a secret relationship with the investigating German officer, Mark. There is only one step between heroism and treason, and it’s often a dangerous one. Inside an apartment building on Paris’s 11th arrondissement, little escapes the notice of the blind husband of the concierge. Through his sightless but all-knowing eyes, we learn of Rose and Mark’s hidden relationship, and also of the intertwined stories and problems of the other tenants, largely women and children, who face such complex issues as domestic violence, incest, and prostitution. This fascinating graphic novel tackles the still-sensitive topic of who it is acceptable to love, and how, and the story’s drama is brought vividly to life by intimate and atmospheric illustrations.



Well this broke my heart !

A stunningly illustrated graphic novel that tells the tale of women in France during World War 2…

Virginie’s grandmother, admits she never loved her husband Raymond, but she had been in love once…

The story then goes back to the war, in France. Rose lives with her young son, Lucien, her husband Raymond is away, a prisoner of war. She is a nurse and she is helping young Anael, a young Jewish boy who is hiding with his mother in the same building…

There is also Josephine, she works at a cabaret….but is really an ‘escort’…the only way she can survive, but she is struggling to cope and there is tragedy ahead…

Madame Flament, an elderly woman, who appears a bit dotty, but this is not the case….can she be trusted…..can anyone?

Young Rose falls in love with a German soldier…..they keep their trysts secret as no one would understand….

Camille the blind man is loved by all and although he is blind he sees more than anyone….

A beautiful story that shows the awful circumstances many women found themselves in and the effects of war on those left at home alone…..what they had to do just to survive, with love, loss, domestic violence, tragedy and betrayal…..a stunning read..

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.





Carole Maurel cut her teeth on animated films before devoting herself to illustration, in particular, graphic novels. Her 2017 book The Apocalypse According to Magda was awarded the Artémisia Avenir award, which celebrates women in comics.

Navie is a screenwriter for press, cinema and television. She has a degree in history from The Sorbonne in Paris, where she specialized in the history of fascism – making Horizontal Collaboration an excellent fit for her first graphic novel.

Twitter @rolcamaurel


Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller, Womens fiction

The Body Lies by Jo Baker – Book Review



When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the big city and the scene of a violent assault she’s desperate to forget. But when one of her students starts sending in chapters from his novel that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognises herself as the main character in his book – and he has written her a horrific fate.

Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it’s too late?

At once a breathless battle-of-wits and a disarming exploration of sexual politics, The Body Lies is an essential book for our times.



“It was on the busy, dirty Annerley Road in south London that the man hit me”

The Body Lies starts with the assault of the pregnant, unnamed main character (MC), for the next 3 years, she is constantly anxious about the Blue Anorak Man….always on alert and feeling a little on edge. She applies for, and gets a job at a university a few hours from London, teaching Creative Writing.

Husband, Mark decides is not the time for him to move as it’s in the middle of the school year and he can’t (or won’t) leave his pupils, so they decide to live apart temporarily, with visits at weekends and term time….to spend time with young son, Sammy.

Our MC starts the course, meeting her pupils and we read a few chapters of their own writing, Nicholas’ is particularly dark……all true he says…he becomes a little creepy, and his writing seems to be about a dead girl…..who was she?

Then after a party, he rapes our MC and then disappears, she doesn’t report it as she didn’t fight back and just gave up rather than be hit again….”giving up is not consent”…….

but her troubles begin in earnest…her husband leaves her for someone else, a student makes a complaint about her behaviour, she is suspended from her job, a budding romance ends abruptly and someone is watching her…will this end in violence? Will Nicholas be found?

Little Sammy is a happy darling of a boy that brings brightness to this tense tale, while this may not be a typical psychological thriller, it has an insidious tension that will resonate with many women….that constant wariness when being out alone, even being overburdened at work as we don’t want to say no, rather than being deemed ‘difficult’…..of a friendly smile being seen as something more…..everyday occurrences for many.

It’s not a light read due to the subject matter at times and I wonder if a man would read this the same way…..I found this to be a very powerful and thought provoking read and it’s going to keep popping into my thoughts for a long time.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)



JO BAKER is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling LONGBOURN and A COUNTRY ROAD, A TREE.

Her new novel, THE BODY LIES, is a thrilling contemporary novel that explores violence against women in fiction but is also a disarming story of sexual politics.

Jo Baker lives with her family in Lancashire.

Twitter @JoBakerWriter

Hardcover: 288 pages

  • Publisher: Doubleday (13 Jun. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085752643X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857526434


Book reviews, Womens fiction

Anna by Patricia Dixon – Book Review



Set on the coast of Portsmouth and the beautiful Loire Valley, this is the story of Anna. A married mother of three, the unremarkable rock of her family is content with her life until she discovers that Matthew, her husband of 22 years, is having an affair.

Consumed by hurt and tainted memories, Anna’s life is turned upside down by first betrayal and then loss. Her confidence totally destroyed, she is tormented by the spectre of Matthew’s unknown lover. Whilst keeping the secret of his affair from her family, Anna must find her way through the pain alone.

With one son on the other side of the world, another about to enter a war zone and her daughter off to university, her life gradually begins to crumble. A shock discovery, an unwelcome revelation and an advert in a magazine are the catalysts for her road to recovery.

Can Anna find peace and learn to love again?


Anna is on her way to her husband, Matthews funeral.

But she has a secret, Matthew had been seeing someone else, and she just doesn’t know where to turn to……

Anna decides its now her time, and sets off for a holiday, but Matthew’s secret is still playing on her mind all the time, just who was that woman she saw him with? She is tormenting herself, but who can she share her thoughts with? Can she ever truly trust anyone again?

Set mainly in the Loire valley, France, this is a tale of love, secrets, betrayal and friendships…beautifully emotional writing which will have you laughing and crying along with Anna…brilliant.

Thank you to Bombshell Publishing for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review

Author Bio

Patricia Dixon was born in Manchester where she still lives with her husband. They have two grown up children and one grandson.

Ignoring her high school reports and possibly sound advice from teachers, Patricia shunned the world of academia and instead, stubbornly pursued a career in fashion. Once the sparkle of London life wore off she returned north and embarked on a new adventure, that of motherhood.

Now, almost thirty years later she has acquiesced to the wise words of her elders and turned her hand to writing. Patricia has written a total of eight novels, the latest is due for release in March 2019.


Amazon Author Page



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Book reviews, Womens fiction

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont – Book Review



Is it ever too late for love?

When Mike dumps Louise on their 20th Wedding Anniversary, her entire world comes to an end.

Devastated and confused, she attempts to make sense of what happened and returns to a city she’s avoided for two decades.

Will she be able to move on with the man she left behind or will Mike’s increasingly violent and unhinged behaviour continue to haunt and ruin her life? When the reason Mike left her at long last is revealed Louise’s life is in serious danger.



“Where is he? Mike’s never late. Perhaps he forgot today’s our wedding anniversary?”

Louise dressed to look her best for her 20th wedding anniversary and hoping that Mike will appreciate it…….she’s worried he’s late, when he does eventually call, it’s only to tell her he’s leaving her……he said “consider yourself dumped”…

Totally distraught, Louise is a mess, one night she takes too many sleeping pills…..she survives but it takes a long time for her to become some semblance of her former self….with the help of her friends.

Meanwhile, Mike is now living with Abby, who is pregnant… is his child isn’t it? He is also hiding money from his business partner, Steve…..and is slowly falling apart.

Set in both Malmo and London, this is the tale of love, betrayal, abuse, violence, money,  love and ultimately hope. A tense look at relationships and the consequences of our actions on others….an emotion packed read.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)


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  

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Her Husbands Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan – Book Review



Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly, and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself . .



From the first line “The morning after my father’s funeral, I came home and found my husband in bed with the next door neighbour” I was hooked.

Roxy moves into her Mum’s with her two kids and slowly starts trying to come to terms with everything…

She takes over her father’s chauffeuring business, but so her children don’t hate her, and to try to mend her marriage, she returns home to Dave….but can she trust him again? Or will that image of him and Julie, from next door, keep haunting her?

This is a tale of a broken woman who slowly heals and becomes the strong, independent person she deserved to be, a tale of strength and self empowerment.

“We’re all hanging by our fingertips. But now I know that I can get up again if I fall’

Great relatable characters and an engrossing read…I really enjoyed it.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)



Sheila O’Flanagan is the author of many bestselling novels including The Hideaway, What Happened That Night, The Missing Wife, My Mother’s Secret, If You Were Me, and All For You (winner of the Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award). She lives in Dublin with her husband.

Twitter @sheilaoflanagan


Book reviews, Womens fiction

Because Of You by Helene Fermont – Book Review



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.  




Because of You by Helene Fermont cover 36 years of Hannah Stein’s life, starting when she was a teenager in London up to her middle age.

It was very unique to have a story cover so much of a life, her loves,  her family and how it developed over those years. It has life, family, love and heartbreak and also a slightly dark side to the story too, some domestic abuse and bullying which makes for difficult reading at times, but this makes for a realistic and compelling,  immersive read.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

Author Bio:


Born into a bilingual family (Swedish/ English) Hélene Fermont enjoyed an idylic childhood on the outskirts of Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city and major cultural hub. Growing up in the 1970s she had a brief musical career on Swedish TV and radio. Hélene lived in London for over 20 years but has recently returned to Sweden. Hélene is a former teacher, a practising psychologist, and currently the author of three novels, all of which are psychological suspense with a nordic noir flavour. Her fourth novel is coming soon!


Social Media links:






Book reviews, Womens fiction

Lost Daughter by Ali Mercer – Book Review



If you think photos aren’t important… wait until they’re all you have left of your child.

Your life isn’t perfect, but you’re still happy. Your husband has stuck by you and he’s a good dad. Your daughter Becca makes your heart explode with love. And then, in the time it takes to say ‘bad mother’, there’s no longer a place for you in your own family. Your right to see your child has disappeared.

Life goes on in your house – family dinners, missing socks and evening baths – but you aren’t there anymore. Becca may be tucked up in bed in Rose Cottage, but she is as lost to you as if she had been snatched from under your nose.

Everyone knows you deserve this, for what you did. Except you’re starting to realise that things maybe aren’t how you thought they were, and your husband isn’t who you thought he was either. That the truths you’ve been so diligently punishing yourself for are built on sand, and the daughter you have lost has been unfairly taken from you. Wouldn’t that be more than any mother could bear?

A heart-wrenchingly emotional drama for fans of Lisa Wingate, Jill Childs and Jodi Picoult.



When the publishers say this is heart wrenching, they aren’t kidding……oh my heart..

Told from the different points of view of three women and their differing circumstances, but all three have one thing in common, their children are no longer living with them…..

Rachel, did something awful and as a result, husband Mitchell has custody of their daughter, Becca….What could she have done that was so bad?

Viv, has a son who is in an institution and has been since a child…

Leona, had put her child up for adoption, but not as a baby….

The book follows these women’s emotional rollercoaster, their guilt and shame at the things they have done for, what they believed, was the best at the time…it covers emotive issues such as depression, autism and ultimately friendship, hope and love…..heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Wonderful writing by Ali Mercer…..

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

Author Bio:



Ali decided she wanted to be a writer early on and wrote her first novel when she was at primary school. She did an English degree and spent her early twenties working in various jobs in journalism, including as a reporter for the showbusiness newspaper The Stage. She started writing fiction in earnest after getting married, moving out of London to the Oxfordshire market town of Abingdon and starting a family. She has two children, a daughter and a son who is autistic and was diagnosed when he was four years old.

Ali is fascinated by families, their myths and secrets, and the forces that hold them together, split them up and (sometimes) bring them back together again. She always travels with tissues and a book and has been known to cry over a good story, but is also a big fan of the hopeful ending.

Author Social Media Links:

For updates and pictures, follow Ali on Twitter (@AlisonLMercer) or Instagram (@alimercerwriter), or on her Facebook page (AliMercerwriter)

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond – Book Review



To lose your family is heart-breaking.
To be forgotten by them is unforgiveable.

Cassie and Erin are sisters. They are close – in age, looks and personality – but there is one crucial difference: Cassie is adopted.

At seventeen, Cassie sets out to find her birth mother. She is hungry for the truth, but she discovers her adoption was far more complicated than even she could have imagined. In uncovering her birth identity Cassie learns that her adoptive parents have kept a terrible secret from her her whole life, a secret that now threatens to destroy everything she has ever held dear.

The Forgotten Sister is a heart-rending, profoundly moving novel about protecting the ones you love from the secrets that will hurt them most.




The Forgotten Sister starts with Grace relieving the phone call all mothers dread , her daughter, Cassie is in A&E…..

Cassie Haines is Seventeen and had been adopted as a small child by Grace and Tom, who also have their younger daughter born after Cassie was adopted, a miracle baby. Erin and both girls are as close as sisters can be…

When Cassie visits a family planning clinic she is asked questions about her medical history and she feels it’s time to know more about her biological family…so she asks her mum, Grace, but feels she is not being told everything and so starts her own investigation.

As all teenagers know, the first place to look is social media and Cassie finds she had a sister, Leah…..why had she been kept a secret all these years?

Cassie and Leah meet and find their lives are very different, their upbringings and circumstances miles apart…..but is Leah telling the truth? Are her parents telling her the whole story?

“Think about it. What good will it do telling Cassie? None. It’s too late now. It would be cruel to tell her just to salve our consciences”

Poor Cassie is torn between her biological sister and the family she has known all her life…and she’s not sure now where she belongs, who she really is!

This is a family drama with a feeling of menace, something feels off about Leah and you’ll feel the need to know the truth….this is not an easy read, it deals with the  emotive subject of adoption and the secrets kept by a family, believing it for the best. Incredible, fascinating, thought provoking and tear- jerking writing by Caroline Bond. If you like a serious family drama then this is a must read….

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (just click on the image)

About the Author


Caroline Bond was born in Scarborough and studied English at Oxford University before working as a market researcher for 25 years. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University, and lives in Leeds with her husband and three children. Her first novel, The Second Child, was published in 2018.

Praise for Caroline’s debut novel, The Second Child

‘If you were in a lab cooking up the perfect book club book it would be this one.’
Matt Williams, BBC Radio 2 Book Club

‘I stayed up long into the night to finish The Second Child…a carefully crafted and utterly compelling tale of lost opportunity and impossible choices.’
Amanda Brooke, author of The Affair

‘Caroline Bond takes a complex situation and has written a thoughtful, wrenching and, at times, tear-jerking novel.’
Elisabeth Buchan, author of The New Mrs Clifton

‘We loved this page-turner that challenges the idea of what makes and breaks a family.’
Take A Break

‘Delves into family values, marriage, trust, love and loyalty. Highly recommended.’

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Moxie by Alex Poppe – Book Review



Jax, a magazine-cover model, has had half her face destroyed in a bomb blast. Drowning in whiskey and self-loathing, she must rebuild her life now that her beauty is gone.

Part love letter to New York, part commentary on social justice issues, Moxie is a timely and raw portrayal of the sometimes self-destructive search for identity and redemption.



Alex Poppe has created a  stark, gritty portrait of human emotion. Jax was a model, beauty was her life and career, which is destroyed after her face was badly burned and scarred….full of despair and not a little self-pity, she starts drinking and doesn’t stop….but along the fraught journey, full of emotion.

Jax’s voice is strident yet poetic at times…..will the marvellous characters she meets help her find her real self?

A brilliantly engaging, eyebrow raising read…..a must read.

Thank you to Melanie at Frasers Fun House for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.


Author Bio


Alex Poppe is the author of the debut novel Moxie (2019) and the story

collection Girl, World (2017). Girl, World was named a 35 Over 35 Debut Book Award winner, First Horizon Award finalist, Montaigne Medal finalist, and was short-listed for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize. It was also awarded an Honorable Mention in General Fiction from the Eric Hoffer Awards. Her short fiction has been a finalist for Glimmer Train’s Family Matters contest, a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, and commended for the Baker Prize. Her non-fiction was named a Best of the Net nominee (2016), a finalist for Hot Metal Bridge’s Social Justice Writing contest, and has appeared in Bust and Bella Caledonia. She is an academic writing lecturer at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani and is working on her third book of fiction with support from Can Serrat International Art Residency and Asociacíon Cultural LINEA DE COSTA DUPLO Artist in Residency programs.

Author links




Purchase Links:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:


Book Depository:


Publication Date: 30th April 2019

Publisher: Tortoise Books

Est Page count: 242


Book reviews, Womens fiction

Rosie and Ruby by Patricia Dixon – Book Review



Ruby lives one-step away from poverty on a rundown, crime infested estate in Manchester, with Stella, her feckless, self centred a mother.

In the quiet suburbs of Cheshire Rosie, Ruby’s cousin, leads a charmed, middle class existence but feels suffocated by her domineering mother Doreen.

Although Stella and Doreen have little in common, they share the inability to show the love and loyalty that their daughters deserve.

Meanwhile, Olivia, a member of the elite Cheshire set, is aloof and distant, rattling around in her sprawling mansion, attending charity functions and hosting infamous bridge nights.

Her errant son Marcus lives his life in the fast lane, maximising the perks of the family firm whilst enjoying his jet setting bachelor existence, well away from the watchful eyes of his disapproving mother.

But when Ruby meets Marcus her life begins to crumble and one by one the secrets she has kept are exposed.

Can Rosie and Ruby’s bond survive? And in Ruby’s hour of need, will her cousin keep her promise, and come to her rescue?



This is the tale of two cousins, Rosie and Ruby, about their lives beginning at their childhood and early teenage years in Manchester.

Their mothers are not the best to say the least and Rosie and Ruby have to overcome the mental traumas they suffered and that continue to haunt them for many years…

Rosie moves to France to become a hotelier and Ruby ends up in a troubled marriage with a real nasty piece of work….

Can they finally find the freedom and independence they dream of ? Will the close bond they had as children survive and help them both achieve their dream?

Patricia Dixon has created a stunningly immersive story of family, relationships, of love and heartbreak….wonderfully emotional.

Thank you to Bombshell Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review


Author Bio


Patricia Dixon was born in Manchester where she still lives with her husband. They have two grown up children and one grandson.

Ignoring her high school reports and possibly sound advice from teachers, Patricia shunned the world of academia and instead, stubbornly pursued a career in fashion. Once the sparkle of London life wore off she returned north and embarked on a new adventure, that of motherhood.

Now, almost thirty years later she has acquiesced to the wise words of her elders and turned her hand to writing. Patricia has written a total of eight novels, the latest is due for release in March 2019.

Amazon Author Page


Email –

Facebook Links

Author Page

Profile Page

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Womens fiction

Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly – Book Review



An exquisite and original take on the family saga, from the PEN Ackerley Prize-winning Alice Jolly

Coventry, 1941. The morning after one of the worst nights of the Blitz. Twenty-two-year-old Rose enters the remains of a bombed house to find her best friend dead. Shocked and confused, she makes a split-second decision that will reverberate for generations to come.

More than fifty years later, in modern-day Brighton, Rose’s granddaughter Lara waits for the return of her eighteen-year-old son Jay. Reckless and idealistic, he has gone to Iraq to stand on a conflict line as an unarmed witness to peace.

Lara holds her parents, Mollie and Rufus, partly responsible for Jay’s departure. But in her attempts to explain their thwarted passions, she finds all her assumptions about her own life are called into question.

Then into this damaged family come two strangers – Oliver, a former faith healer, and Jemmy, a young woman devastated by the loss of a baby. Together they help to establish a partial peace – but at what cost?




This starts with the aftermath of a bombing raid on Coventry in April 1941….Rose is bewildered and traumatised by the devastation around her, she’s carrying her daughter Mollie, barely able to take it all in. She is trying to get to her friend Violet and her daughter, also called Mollie…..she then makes a decision which will affect the rest of her life…

Told from the different perspectives of several characters over 4 decades, easy to follow and builds a fascinating insight to all of them and their lives.

“Jay made his choices, they all did and what’s happened is due to the squalid little mistakes and petty grievances of their lives”

Alice Jolly has written a hypnotic, beautiful tale of family and the consequences of our actions on ourselves and those close to us. There are some of the most honest, brutal and emotional moments that will make you gasp, cry and want to hug those close to you….a masterpiece of writing and a modern classic in the making……I’m certain book clubs everywhere will love it as much as I do.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

YOU CAN BUY A COPY HERE…..(click on the image)

About the author


Alice Jolly is a novelist and playwright. Her memoir Dead Babies and Seaside Towns won the PEN Ackerley Prize 2016. She also won the V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize awarded by the Royal Society of Literature in 2014 for one of her short stories, ‘Ray the Rottweiler’. She has published three novels previously, What the Eye Doesn’t
See, If Only You Knew and Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile. She has also written for the Guardian, Mail on Sunday and the Independent, and broadcast for Radio 4. She lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Alice Jolly is the PEN Ackerley Prize-winning author of the memoir Dead Babies and Seaside Towns.

Alice’s remarkable 2018 novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile was described by Sally Bayley as ‘an exquisite piece of craft … I would place it among the classics of this century and the last’.

For fans of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles, Rose Tremain, Helen Dunmore, Shirley Hazzard, Pat Barker.

For Dead Babies and Seaside Towns:
‘Her account is astonishingly moving and her prose nothing short of hypnotic’ Independent ‘Beautifully written and brutally honest’ Sunday Times

‘The miracle is that this powerfully written book is not only bearable but compulsively readable’ Financial Times

Book details
18 APRIL 2019
PRICE: £8.99
ISBN: 978-1-78352-499-0 FORMAT: Paperback
BINDING: B Format PB EXTENT: 496 pages SIZE: 198 × 129 mm CATEGORY BIC: FA

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Girl in The Painting by Renita D’Silva – Book Review



Discover the secret of the girl in the painting today.

India, 1926: English Margaret arrives with her new husband Suraj at his family home, set amidst beautiful rolling hills, the air filled with the soft scent of spices and hibiscus flowers. Margaret is unwelcome, homesick and lonely, but her maid Archana, a young woman from an impoverished family, reminds her of her long-lost sister, a tiny glimpse of home in a faraway place.

As Margaret and Archana spend more time together, an unexpected friendship blooms. But in British India the divide between rich and poor, English and Indian, is wide, and the clash between Margaret’s modern views and the weight of tradition on Archana will lead to devastating results…

England, 2000: When Emma’s grandmother gives her a mysterious painting, and asks her to take a message of forgiveness to an old friend in India, Emma is relieved to have some time and space to make a decision about her future. But as she fulfils her grandmother’s wish, a secret kept for over seventy years is finally revealed – the story of a day spent painting by a stream full of water lilies, where a betrayal tore three lives apart forever…

Perfect for fans of Kathryn Hughes, Lucinda Riley and The Storyteller’s Secret, Renita D’Silva’s exquisite novel explores the strength it takes to do what is right, no matter the cost.



Margaret grows up in England around the time World War One began, her father joins up to fight, leaving her and her mother to cope alone.

Knowing it unsafe to stay in the family home they are determined not to leave, but then tragedy strikes when the house is destroyed in a bombing raid and only Margaret and her Sister, Winnie survive. They move to their Uncles farm, but feel in the way and unwanted.

But, Winnie then finds love and marries and Margaret decides to leave the farm and study in London….where she meets Suraj….they eventually fall in love and move to India.

More tragedy, when Suraj’s parents die in an accident and life in India is so different to that back home, the poverty, the caste system and other traditions, such as Sati, where a widow will throw herself on the funeral pyre of her husband to die….

The Girl In The Painting is a marvellous, well written and compelling book, a story of many facets, local customs, many secrets and so much tragedy and sadness. A tale of consequences and doing the right thing. Stunning.

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest review.

Author Bio:

Renita D’Silva loves stories, both reading and creating them. Her short stories have been published in ‘The View from Here’, ‘Bartleby Snopes’, ‘this zine’, ‘Platinum Page’, ‘Paragraph Planet’ among others and have been nominated for the ‘Pushcart’ prize and the ‘Best of the Net’ anthology. She is the author of ‘Monsoon Memories’,’The Forgotten Daughter’, ‘The Stolen Girl’, ‘A Sister’s Promise’, ‘A Mother’s Secret’, ‘A Daughter’s Courage’, ‘Beneath An Indian Sky’.

Author Social Media Links

TWITTER: @RenitaDSilva

Publication Day:  April 11th 2019

Apple Books:

Book reviews, Cancer, Womens fiction

The Pelican by M Naidoo – Book Review



“Because life is about living…”

Julia has never been one to surrender without a fight, but when she receives a devastating diagnosis, she has a decision to make.

Even after thirty years, she can still see her mother slowly fading away with every dose of chemo, every round of radiation, and every lost shred of hope. No, she won’t do it… not to her family… and not to herself!

Without warning, she packs up her belongings and disappears, leaving behind a life that, by all accounts, had been as perfect as they come, and a distraught family full of questions.

Finding peace in a beach house in Northern California turns out to have its complications though. While only a handful of other residents share the tiny beach community, each one has brought their own baggage and developed their own way of dealing with it. All Julia wants is to be left alone, but that simply does not seem to be an option, especially when there’s a persistent bird that declares her to be his new best friend.

Haunted by the shadows of the past, Julia is struggling to cope with the present. Will she have the strength to do this alone and eventually follow through with her plan? Will her family, divided by mixed reactions to being abandoned, come together to try and track her down? And what is the deal with that pelican of hers?

Only time will tell – and time is the one thing Julia does not have…



Julia finds out she has cancer and decides to keep a promise to herself, made years before when watching her mother struggle through cancer, chemo and ultimately her death.

She decides to disappear, to deal with her own cancer, her mortality, alone. She wants to spare her husband and family the heartache of watching her fade away.

This is an incredibly emotional tale, (which I personally found a difficult read due to my own health….I’m currently undergoing treatment for stage 4 malignant melanoma) and I can fully understand her reasoning, to protect those closest to you, but also to protect yourself……trying to cope with your own emotions is tough enough without having to think of others too at an incredibly difficult time.

A story of utter selflessness with the intent on sparing her family pain and the unhappy memories. Wonderfully emotive writing…… have a box of tissues with you, when you read this..……you’ll need them.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.


Purchase Links
For duration of tour – The Pelican will be £1.99 on Amazon UK (and US)

Author Bio 

E924E779-51DA-489C-BD87-741349AC95FFBorn and raised in Germany, M.Naidoo lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters,
and three dogs. One of them, Dusty, a spunky terrier mix, found its way into her debut novel. When she is not in front of her computer, pounding out story lines and characters, she enjoys reading, movies, spending time with her family, and long walks on the beach – her proverbial ‘happy place’. M’s love for the beach and ocean shine through in the vivid descriptions of the coast in The Pelican.

Book reviews, Thriller, Womens fiction

The Problem with Perfect by Megan Mayfair – Book Review



Marigold Doyle’s life was perfect, with a successful career and wonderful marriage. But when her husband, Julian, passes away, her life is thrown into turmoil as she discovers a trail of secrets Julian was hiding in the months prior to his death.

Struggling with her grief, she knows she needs to find out Julian’s actions to help her move on.

Finn Schröder, a former police officer and now private security consultant, is focused on an uncomplicated, unattached life and growing his business. He agrees to help Marigold find out the truth about Julian, but as they become closer, he realises his feelings for her may be developing beyond simply professional.

As Marigold and Finn work through the web of Julian’s deception, will they learn to face the reality that things aren’t always exactly as they seem?

Purchase Link –



After the death of Marigolds beloved husband, Julian,  her perfect life is fractured by secrets. Just what was Julian hiding?

Marigold enlists the help of Finn, ex cop and now a security consultant, to find out how far the secrets go and why… there such a thing as perfect? Or is this an unattainable dream?

Finn and Marigold grow close as their investigation progresses in this quite light and easy read…..interesting and emotional writing by Megan Mayfair.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.


Author Bio 


Megan’s stories are about families, intrigue and love. Every book contains a bit of humour and a lot of heart.

Megan lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children, and has a background in public relations and higher education.

She drinks far too much coffee and has an addiction to buying scarves. She interviews with other authors for her blog series, Espresso Tales, and loves a bit of #bookstagram.

Her debut novel, The Things We Leave Unsaid, was released by Crooked Cat Books in 2018, followed by Tangled Vines. The Problem with Perfect is her third novel.

Social Media Links –


Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Peacock Bottle by Angela Ridley – Book Review and #GIVEAWAY



The Peacock Bottle

In this Victorian dual timeline novel, Amelia Wise feels a jolt when she finds a blue perfume bottle in the overgrown garden of the house she has inherited. 

Several events in her life mirror those from the past and, with the help of her newfound cousin, Olivia, the bottle’s secret is uncovered.



This is historical fiction set in the 1800’s in the Lake District…

It covers two separate time periods, 1840 and 1893 and the history of the Wise family.

In 1893, Amelia and her Stepmother move to a new home after the death of her father. The house and garden have been neglected and need work and while clearing the garden, Amelia finds a perfume bottle…this then gives us flashbacks to history, why was the bottle buried? A story of family and secrets. 

Angela Ridley has written a gentle tale, with some really descriptive writing giving nice well rounded characters and a sense of the atmosphere of the time. A well written, easy and enjoyable read….

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

Purchase Links:

UK –

US –


Author Bio


Married to Don, I have 5 children and 9 grandchildren, I live in Derbyshire, England, and enjoy researching my family tree (having found ancestors as far back as 1465), reading, gardening, playing Scrabble, meals out and family gatherings. I am the treasurer of my writing club, Eastwood Writers’ Group, and I also write and record Thoughts for the Day for Radio Nottingham. 

At church I sing in the choir and am an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, a reader, a flower arranger and a member of the fundraising team for Cafod, my favourite charity. I have written hymns, although I cannot read music.

Social Media Links –



Giveaway to Win 2 x Paperback copes of The Peacock Bottle (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  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.