Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth | @sandstonepress | #blogtour

It’s a pleasure to host a stop on the blog tour for Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth today! My thanks to Julia Forster for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

!Author : Moira Forsyth
Title : Tell Me Where You Are
Pages : 344
Publisher : Sandstone Press
Publication date : May 15, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

The last thing Frances wants is a phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago. But Susan has disappeared, abandoning Alec and her daughter Kate, a surly teenager with an explosive secret. Reluctantly, Frances is drawn into her sister’s turbulent life.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Thirteen years ago, Frances’ husband Alec left her. Not just for anyone, but for her younger sister, Susan. Frances hasn’t been in touch with her sister since. Nobody in the family has. But now, a phone call from Alec upsets Frances’s perfectly peaceful life. Susan has gone missing.

The reader never gets to meet Susan but she doesn’t come across as a particularly likeable character. From an early age, she seemed to be the odd one out in a family with three daughters and caused her parents quite the headaches. Did that somewhat outrageous behaviour just carry on into adulthood? Is she just a selfish woman or does she suffer from mental issues?

None of that matters to one iota to Frances. What matters is Kate, Susan’s teenage daughter. With her mother gone and her stepfather too busy or unwilling to take care off her, she’s dumped at the home of her aunt Frances. With a family member missing, surely nothing else can go wrong! Plenty, as it turns out.

This is a story about a family thrown into turmoil. With multiple points-of-view throughout, the impact Susan has had, and now continues to have even though she’s disappeared, becomes incredibly clear. From her parents who wonder what went wrong; to her husband who who may just regret his decision; to a daughter, lost and confused.

Despite all the disruption Susan’s disappearance has caused, life goes on and somehow this family must find a way to come together through ups and downs. They are faced with difficult and realistic decisions and throughout it all, Frances really stood out for me. She may not always be sympathetic or tactful but she always tries to tackle problems head-on and do what’s best. Her ex-husband, on the other hand, I could quite happily have strangled.

Just like in real life, things aren’t wrapped up all pretty with a bow. There are some unanswered questions, tough decisions and no easy solutions. Throughout it all are believable characters you’ll sympathise with and root for. Tell Me Where You are is a delightful and warm story about a dysfunctional family navigating its way through life and its various roadblocks.

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Moira Forsyth grew up in Aberdeen, lived in England for nearly twenty years, and is now in the Highlands. She is the author of four previous novels and many short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines. Waiting for Lindsay and David’s Sisters, originally published by Sceptre, are now available as e-books from Sandstone Press, which also published The Treacle Well in 2015.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen | @wordsofhelen @MichaelJBooks @sriya__v | #blogtour #guestpost

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen. My thanks to Sriya at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join! Author Helen Cullen visits my blog today to talk about the importance of music in her novel but first, here is what The Lost Letters of William Woolf is all about.

Author : Helen Cullen
Title : The Lost Letters of William Woolf
Pages : 416
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : May 2, 2019 (paperback)

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Inside East London’s Dead Letters Depot, William Woolf unites lost mail with its intended recipient. White mice, a miniature grandfather clock and a full suit of armour are among the more unusual items lost then found thanks to William’s detective work.

But when he discovers a series of letters addressed only to ‘My Great Love’, everything changes. Written by Winter to a soulmate she hasn’t yet met, her heartfelt words stir William in ways he has long forgotten. Could they be destined for him? But what about his troubled marriage?

William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve the mystery of his own heart.

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| GUEST POST |

The importance of music in The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

One of the great joys of writing my debut novel, The Lost Letters of William Woolf, was undoubtedly creating the soundtrack to accompany the story. This curation of songs allowed me to indulge in the perfect intersection of my two great loves; music and literature. 

It was a moment of great revelation for me as I was developing each character when I realised who each of their favourite artists were; knowing what music they chose to listen to at pivotal moments in the narrative. Understanding, for example, that William Woolf was listening to The Smiths as he strolled through Dublin city made the whole scene crackle with life for me; I could place myself in the very heart of him. Understanding that Clare’s musical heroine was Kate Bush gave me insight into the longings she nursed in private; the artistic instincts that she was working hard to oppress. Discovering that Winter’s favourite band was The Cure reinforced in me her melancholic disposition, and how art could articulate sadness for her in a way that was restorative, uplifting and ultimately joyful. Situating the novel in the late 80s allowed me to revel in the music that I loved from that time.

Every day, before I began to write, I would choose a song to listen to that encapsulated for me the energy or the feeling of the scene I wanted to work on. Sinking into the music, the physical world around me would slip away, and I was able to cross the bridge from the reality of life to the imaginary world of the novel. It’s a practice I have continued now while writing my second novel.

The William Woolf playlist is an eclectic one; I would love to think that as readers follow the story, they might pause and look up the songs that are mentioned and play them as they read, to experience the music as the characters do, to activate their aural senses as their imaginations conjure the world before them. If they do, I hope they enjoy the musical rollercoaster and that it deepens their connection with the narrative. The playlist follows and you can listen to it on Spotify here. I hope you enjoy it! 

The Lost Letters of William Woolf Playlist

1. Chet Baker – Old Devil Moon 

2. David Bowie – Wild is The Wind 

3. Nina Simone – My baby just cares for me 

4. The Cure – Pictures of You 

5. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love 

6. Beethoven – Moonlight Piano Sonata

7. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon 

8. Sonny & Cher – I got you babe 

9. Madonna – Like A Prayer 

10. The Platters – The Great Pretender

11. Leonard Cohen – Suzanne 

12. George Michael – Careless Whisper

13. Michael Dees – What are you doing for the rest of your life?

14. The Undertones – Teenage Kicks

15. The Bangles – Eternal Flame

16. The Smiths – There is a Light and It Never Goes Out 

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Helen Cullen is an Irish writer living in London. She worked at RTE (Ireland’s national broadcaster) for seven years before moving to London in 2010. In the UK, Helen established a career as an events and engagement specialist before joining the Google UK marketing team in 2015.

The first draft of her debut novel THE LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF was written while completing the Guardian/UEA novel writing programme under the mentorship of Michèle Roberts. Helen holds an M.A. Theatre Studies from UCD and is currently completing an M.A. English Literature at Brunel University.

Helen is now writing full-time and working on her second novel.

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson | @LauraPAuthor @AgoraBooksLDN @TheyCallMePeyto | #blogtour #NobodysWife

Delighted to join the blog tour for Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson today! My thanks to Peyton at Agora Books for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy!

Author : Laura Pearson
Title : Nobody’s Wife
Pages : 267
Publisher : Agora Books
Publication date : March 28, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

‘Of the four of them, only three remained. And there was no going backwards from there.’ 

Emily and Josephine have always shared everything. They’re sisters, flatmates, and best friends. It’s the two of them against the world.

When Emily has the perfect wedding, and Josephine finds the perfect man, they know things will change forever. But nothing can prepare them for what, or who, one of them is willing to give up for love.

Four people. Three couples. Two sisters. One unforgivable betrayal.

| MY THOUGHTS |

I absolutely loved Laura Pearson’s debut Missing Pieces, even though it left me in bits. So I was quite eager to read Nobody’s Wife, wondering if I would once again be reaching for the tissues.

Sisters Emily and Josephine have always been close but their bond has only become stronger since their mother moved to the other side of the world. Now Emily is getting married and Josephine may have found “the one” as well. Naturally, changes are afoot as they both embark on a new adventure in their lives. But neither one is prepared for what happens next.

From the very beginning, Laura Pearson managed to draw me in with realistic and believable characters in relatable situations. While Emma has doubts and suffers from nerves on her wedding day, Josephine tries to figure out the sometimes complicated beginnings of a new relationship. But everything soon starts to fall apart.

It’s obvious from the prologue that something has happened that affects these characters’ lives and the what, how, why, who is slowly revealed throughout the storyline. Laura Pearson’s writing is extremely beautiful and the characters evoked quite a few emotions from me. I felt angry and frustrated at some of their decisions, saddened as well and I became completely caught up in their lives, feeling for everyone involved and having this sense of impending doom.

Nobody’s Wife is an emotional story of love, obsession and betrayal that has devastating consequences. Life often does not come wrapped up in a tiny little bow. In case you wondered, no, no tissues required this time around but I did have problems swallowing past the lump in my throat. Because no matter how I felt about these characters and their actions, or lack thereof, at times it seemed as if I was right there next to them, feeling their pain.

There seems to be something almost effortless about the way Laura Pearson writes. Everything flows quite naturally and it’s always touching and moving, without the distraction of bells and whistles, reaching down into your very core, leaving you wanting to hug those closest to you really tight and never let them go. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Nobody’s Wife will be available to buy on March 28th.

 Amazon US | Amazon UK

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She spent a decade living in London and working as a copywriter and editor for QVC, Expedia, Net a Porter, EE, and The Ministry of Justice. Now, she lives in Leicestershire, where she writes novels, blogs about her experience of breast cancer (www.breastcancerandbaby.com), runs The Motherload Book Club, and tries to work out how to raise her two children.

Love Punked by Nia Lucas #BooksNia @rararesources #blogtour #LovePunked #YA #YoungAdult #guestpost

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Love Punked by Nia Lucas today! My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me along. Nia joins me on the blog today to share what she would tell her teenage self if she could. But first, here is what Love Punked is all about!

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Author : Nia Lucas
Title : Love Punked
Pages : 438
Publisher : n/a
Publication date : July 21, 2018

aboutthebook

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

guestpost

One of the greatest things about writing, one of my absolute favourite parts of the luxurious creation of worlds and people who have only lived in your head until fingertip prods key, is the fact that parts of your own world can be woven secretly and seamlessly into the fabric of the thing you create. I love the ‘Secret Squirrel’ part of writing, dropping flakes of truth into the casserole of fiction, changing the flavour without anyone being able to put their finger on what exactly the ingredient was. I like to chuckle like a moron when the people who know me best raise an eyebrow and murmur, “Isn’t that bit about that time when you……?”. Simple pleasures. 

Yet this truth sprinkling brings with it reflection and on occasion, pain and sorrow for things gone by. It also brings smirks, snorts and eye-rolling embarrassment and on that note, I have some advice to share.

Lessons from a misspent 90’s youth: Things I wish I’d tell my teenage self.

  1. If you are in Clair’s Accessories, back away. Find the exit. Now. Coating yourself in pink, sparkly tat will not transform you into an ironic, Courtney Love-esque sophisticate. Nope. You will look like a tit. A tit in a cheap plastic tiara but a tit nonetheless. 
  1. That undercut and those baggy black jeans with the massive red pockets on your bum will not make you look cool. You will look like a follically-challenged baboon. 
  1. Instead of allocating two hours a day to experimenting with ‘Berry Spice’ lipstick on the off-chance that you will bump into the lads from the band ‘Jesus Jones’ in Swindon town centre, spend those hours on revising your German vocab. You will never meet ‘Jesus Jones’, they will disappear into obscurity but you will get stuck in a Prague Police station with some passive-aggressive officers a few years down the line and decent German might prevent that trip to the British Consulate at 2am. 
  1. Your figure is incredible. Genuinely incredible. Wear as many crop tops, bikinis and hotpants as you can. Stop worrying about your legs or your belly because in twenty years time, as you stare down the barrel of an ankle-to-neck Spanx bodysuit (into which you will become wedged and have to be wrestled out of by your inebriated best mate in truly tiny toilets), you will weep tears of bitter regret for the immaculate teenage figure that you never appreciated. Wear anything. You have the figure for it. Bloody babies will destroy it soon enough. 
  1. Be so, so careful girl. In an ill advised escapade, you meet two lads, two incredibly funny, damaged and dangerous boys, who lure you into a world you inhabit oh-so-briefly but one which you never forget. These boys disappear into the cogs of the Criminal Justice System, evaporating from your life like ghosts but it’s their haunting that leads you to write your first book twenty years later. Be careful. Be safe. Listen to the voice in your head because she’s pretty sound (although ignore all of her tips on clothing choices).  
  1. You were entirely right all along, your suspicions spot on. You really do never need to use vectors outside of Mrs. Spinks’ Maths classroom. Absolute waste of your time. Spend your time learning how to jump start a car instead. You will need those skills.
  1. You will never regret being voluntarily teetotal. Not once. You’ll be tested on this decision, innumerable times in the coming years but stay strong. You will be the girl who has the best nights out, whose sobriety inhibits her craziness not a jot and she remembers every bloody minute of it. Thanks to that lucidity, you will also be the girl with the most incredible blackmail material against your mates. Carry on.
  1. Don’t bother with the driving lessons. Spend the cash on that AMAZING lace dress with the coordinating UV bra and hotpants that you will eternally regret not buying. Driving lessons are a waste of your time until you are 21. Why? Because you are a complete and absolute liability on the road, you fail innumerable tests (one of which is failed because you crash into the Test Centre wall with the examiner screaming beside you) and you only get a clue a few years down the line. GET THE DRESS INSTEAD.
  1. That rave in Milton Keynes is a truly terrible idea. You end up in Leicester at 2am aged sixteen, you have no money, you get so close to being found out by your parents that even now, the memory makes you sweaty and you are lucky not to have ended up as a Crimewatch Special. DO NOT GO. You still owe that Policeman a box of chocolates by the way. 
  1. Love every bloody minute of being a teenager in the 90’s. There are these things now called Mobile Phones which are surgically attached to people’s hands. They have cameras built into them. Which people take on every night out. Can. You. Imagine. You will forever feel gratitude that you are an Xennial, whose misspent youth is undocumented. You’re safe. Well, you were……..in about 2016 you decide to start writing books…….you’d better watch yourself madam, nothing stays secret for long……..

[Some truly wonderful lessons to be learned there. I can definitely relate to the last one. I often think those of us who grew up before all the gadgets and social media were very, very lucky indeed. Thanks so much for this fab post, Nia, and good luck with Love Punked!]

abouttheauthor

I am a UK based author of Contemporary women’s fiction who is passionate about telling the stories of strong, sympathetic, entertaining and engaging female characters and the lives that they lead. My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s and an adolescence spent immersed in clubbing culture.

Author links : BlogFacebook | InstagramTwitter

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Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty @MichaelJBooks #NinePerfectStrangers #NetGalley

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Author : Liane Moriarty
Title : Nine Perfect Strangers
Pages : 432
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin UK
Publication date : October 4, 2018

aboutthebook

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

mythoughts

This may come as a bit of a surprise considering the genres I usually read but boy, do I love me some Liane Moriarty. I was very excited to hear she had a new book coming out and couldn’t wait to get stuck into it.

Nine Perfect Strangers is rather hard to put a label on. It’s contemporary fiction in the way Liane Moriarty does best, but there’s also a touch of the psychological thriller vibe to it and it had me hooked from the start.

That was mainly due to the fabulous character of Frances, whom I adored from the minute I met her. Frances used to be a bestselling romance author but now she’s lost her way a little bit. Suffering from a bad back, a broken heart, menopausal symptoms and an awful paper cut, she checks herself into Tranquillum House for some pampering and a ten day cleansing. But not even the imaginative Frances could possibly predict the challenges that lay ahead.

There are quite a few characters in this delightful story. On top of the nine guests, we also meet the owner and her staff. Each one of these characters is so brilliantly introduced that it never gets confusing at all, even with chapters switching back and forth between them. Some are likeable from the start, some take a little getting used to but each one comes across as highly realistic and believable.

The guests are there for very different reasons and some parts made me feel quite emotional. It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are some fantastically witty moments and retorts, which made this a highly entertaining and enjoyable read. Even though some of the events involving the owner may have gone slightly over the top, I was so engrossed that it didn’t bother me at all.

I loved Nine Perfect Strangers from the outset. It may not quite have turned out the way I expected it to but I had a fabulous time meeting these characters, sympathising with them, rooting for them and it all leads to a wonderful conclusion. I have no doubt this one will do well and I look forward immensely to whatever Liane Moriarty comes up with next.

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley!

Nine Perfect Strangers is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #blogtour #bookreview #recommended #mustread

I’m beyond delighted to join the blog tour for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech today! Massive thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my gorgeous (and embossed!) copy and to Anne Cater for inviting me to join the tour!

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Author : Louise Beech
Title : The Lion Tamer Who Lost
Pages : 323
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 20, 2018

aboutthebook

Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben’s father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.

Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth?

mythoughts

Good grief. I need a minute. Or a lie-down. Or maybe a few stiff drinks to get past this huge lump in my throat.

I don’t really consider myself a particularly emotional person (although I did once cry at a diaper commercial but that’s another story), yet somehow Louise Beech always manages to rip out my heart, stomp all over it and leave me a big, unattractive, blubbering mess.

We first meet Ben in the magnificent surroundings of Zimbabwe, where he’s volunteering at a lion sanctuary. It’s rather obvious from the start that Ben is trying to run away from something or someone but the what or the who is only teasingly revealed  and it took me a while to figure it all out. Back in England, we get to know Andrew. He’s a children’s author with a long outstanding wish. But when his wish comes true, he wishes it hadn’t. I’m not telling you any more than that. You need to just jump into this novel and be completely swept away.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a powerful, tragic and incredibly emotional love story. With realistic and believable characters that almost jump from the pages, I quickly found myself utterly invested in their lives. Their pain was my pain, their tears were my tears, their heartache was my heartache. What an incredible talent Louise Beech has to evoke all these emotions.

This beautifully written tale is not to be raced through or devoured. Every single word on every single page is to be savoured, to be cherished, to be felt deep down into your very core. It’s so hard to explain but it’s just … special. Original, compelling, emotive, exquisite and in case you weren’t able to tell, it left me lost for words but it is a gem of a book I will treasure forever.

This is the fourth book by Louise Beech I’ve read and I can never find the right words (or any words really) to do them any justice. She is the most amazing storyteller and if you’ve not yet read any of her novels, you’re doing yourself an extremely big disservice. Start with this one, work your way back. I promise you will thank me later! In the meantime, I will (im)patiently sit here and await whatever it is Louise Beech comes up with next because I just know it will be special once again.

The Lion Tamer Who Lost is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice.

Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Author links : Twitter | Website

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The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen @wordsofhelen @MichaelJBooks #blogtour

It is such a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen. My thanks to Jenny Platt at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for the wonderful review copy!

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Author : Helen Cullen
Title : The Lost Letters of William Woolf
Pages : 325
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : July 12, 2018

aboutthebook

Lost letters have only one hope for survival . . .

Inside the Dead Letters Depot in East London, William Woolf is one of thirty letter detectives who spend their days solving mysteries: Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names – they are all the culprits of missed birthdays, broken hearts, unheard confessions, pointless accusations, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers.

When William discovers letters addressed simply to ‘My Great Love’ his work takes on new meaning. Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn’t met yet, the missives stir William in ways he didn’t know were possible. Soon he begins to wonder: Could William be her great love?

William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve his most important mystery yet: the human heart.

mythoughts

William Woolf works at the Dead Letters Depot in East London. A place where lost letters and packages are given a second chance to find their rightful owners. One day, William finds a letter simply addressed to “My Great Love”, written by a woman to a soulmate she’s not yet met. Living a life that didn’t quite pan out the way he thought it would and with a marriage that’s seemingly crumbling, William wonders if he might be the soulmate of the letter writer.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf oozes nostalgia. For the days when people took the time to write long and thoughtful letters and sent them all around the world, but also for those carefree times in our lives when it felt like you were on top of the world and everything would magically sort itself out until life and its everyday toils and troubles got in the way.

The letters and packages aren’t the only things that are lost. William is lost as well. It took me a while to warm to William. I felt he was a tad wishy-washy, indecisive and lacking a bit of backbone. Yet, his quest to find Winter is intriguing in that way that we all somehow think the grass is greener on the other side. What would life be like if we’d made other choices or decisions? It’s not just the letters at the Depot that are given a second chance. There is one for William as well but will it be with his wife or with Winter?

This is a very slow-paced novel and I struggle a little with reviewing it. It didn’t quite turn out the way I expected it to. I assumed the story would be about all those lost letters at the Depot with William playing the part of a very different kind of detective than the ones I usually read about. It’s not that I didn’t care about what happened to William but I sometimes felt the focus lay a bit too much on his marriage, whereas I would have quite gladly spent way more time at the Depot reading letters and handing them over to the person they were intended for. Doesn’t this sound like the most wonderful job? There are one or two moments where this happened and they were so delightful that they left me wanting more.

That aside though, this is a wonderfully moving and beautifully written debut novel by Helen Cullen about all sorts of lost communication, love, hope and second chances.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Helen Cullen is an Irish writer living in London. She worked at RTE (Ireland’s national broadcaster) for seven years before moving to London in 2010. In the UK, Helen established a career as an events and engagement specialist before joining the Google UK marketing team in 2015.

The first draft of her debut novel THE LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF was written while completing the Guardian/UEA novel writing programme under the mentorship of Michèle Roberts. Helen holds an M.A. Theatre Studies from UCD and is currently completing an M.A. English Literature at Brunel University.

‘The Lost Letters of William Woolf’ will be published in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Greece and Israel.

Helen is now writing full-time and working on her second novel.

Author links : Twitter

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Us Against You by Fredrik Backman @MichaelJBooks #mustread #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Fredrik Backman
Title : Us Against You
Series : Björnstad #2
Pages : 448
Publisher : Michael Joseph Books
Publication date : June 14, 2018

aboutthebook

A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two.

Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions. What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow.

How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?

mythoughts

Something happens to me when I start reading a Fredrik Backman novel. A sort of chemistry I can’t quite explain. It almost feels like falling in love with the words and the characters. There’s something incredibly magical about Backman’s writing. Even when it seems little is happening, I find myself completely enthralled as if I’m under a spell.

Us Against You is the sequel to the fabulous Beartown/The Scandal, which ended up being my favourite book last year. Picking up after the dramatic events, it only took me a few seconds to become reacquainted with the forest, the town and its residents. The town is struggling in the aftermath of the big scandal and the ice hockey club is threatened with closure due to a lack of players and sponsors. But if Beartown doesn’t have its club, what does it have? What is left when the heart of the town stops beating?

Us Against You is sometimes moving and quite heartbreaking. At times it managed to leave a smile on my face, other times I had a massive lump in my throat. The story is always realistic, its characters believable while constantly showing the worst and the best side of mankind, making it incredibly thought-provoking and also hopeful.

Fredrik Backman is a wonderful storyteller. It almost feels as if you’re sitting in a pub with someone who’s telling you the story of Beartown and I once again became utterly invested in the lives of these characters, hurting with them and rooting for them. They wormed their way into my heart from the start and I won’t be forgetting any of them in a hurry.

Beautifully written and incredibly captivating, Us Against You is as much of a gem as Beartown/The Scandal is and it has caused another massive book hangover. I’m quietly hoping for a third instalment in this series. There are more stories to tell, I’m sure, but quite frankly, I’d take any excuse to return to Beartown. In the meantime, I’ll be trying very hard to catch up on some of Fredrik Backman’s other novels.

My thanks to the publisher for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

Us Against You is available to buy!

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Love Will Tear Us Apart by Holly Seddon @hollyseddon @CorvusBooks @annecater #blogtour #RandomThingsTours

Delighted to join the blog tour for Love Will Tear Us Apart by Holly Seddon today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation and to the publisher for my gorgeous review copy!

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Author : Holly Seddon
Title : Love Will Tear Us Apart
Pages : 352
Publisher : Atlantic / Corvus
Publication date : June 7, 2018

aboutthebook

Fearing eternal singledom, childhood friends Kate and Paul make the age-old vow that if they don’t find love by thirty, they will marry each other.

Years later, with the deadline of their 30th birthdays approaching, the unlikely couple decide to keep their teenage promise. After all, they are such good friends. Surely that’s enough to make a marriage?

Now, on the eve of their 10th wedding anniversary, they will discover that love between men and women is more complex, and more precarious, than they could ever have imagined. As Kate struggles with a secret that reaches far into their past, will the couple’s vow become the very thing that threatens their future?

mythoughts

I must say this didn’t turn out the way I expected. I’ve not read any of Holly Seddon’s previous books but I have read reviews about them and so I somehow assumed this would be a psychological thriller. I found myself trying to figure out what the big twist or reveal would be when there wasn’t one. Because this isn’t that kind of novel and if you have read those older books, then I urge you to read this one with an open mind. You won’t be disappointed.

This is a relatively slow novel but it’s wonderfully written and there is a bit of a riddle to solve that intrigued me enough to keep reading. Kate has found a letter hidden away in a book on a shelf which will have an impact on her marriage but who wrote it and what does it say?

The storyline jumps back and forth between the present and the past, taking us on a journey that begins when Kate and Paul meet for the first time as children. They both come from very different backgrounds and Kate’s childhood in particular is quite a sad one, yet they soon become inseparable. With plenty of ups and downs along the way, Kate and Paul always seem to return to one another and it seems rather inevitable that the vow they made to each other to get married if they were still single at the age of thirty, would come to pass. But was it the right decision?

I had a tough time connecting to these characters. I didn’t particularly like any of them and I often found myself slightly angry at the way Paul treated their son, Harry. That said though, I found Holly Seddon did a tremendous job digging into these characters’ complex personalities and I always felt that, although I didn’t necessarily agree with the things they said or did, I could easily see where they were coming from.

Love Will Tear Us Apart is a beautifully written and moving story about friendship and love, trust and honesty. It delves deep into the rather complicated workings of relationships and how well you ever really know someone. Holly Seddon has quite obviously put her heart and soul into this one and I’m not sure I’m doing this novel any justice with my review. It’s a testament to her talent that she is able to switch genres like this and this level of diversity promises nothing but good things from her in the future.

Love Will Tear Us Apart is available to buy!

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abouttheauthor

Holly Seddon is a full-time writer, living in the heart of Amsterdam with her family. Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books.

Holly became a national and international bestseller with her debut, TRY NOT TO BREATHE, in 2016 and followed it in 2017 with DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES.
LOVE WILL TEAR US APART will be published in June 2018.

Author link : FacebookTwitter | Website

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng #20BooksofSummer

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Author : Celeste Ng
Title : Little Fires Everywhere
Pages : 388
Publisher : Abacus
Publication date : April 10, 2018

aboutthebook

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

mythoughts

Welcome to Shaker Heights. A place where rules and regulations are plentiful, from the paint colours on the house exteriors to how long the grass on your lawn is allowed to grow. Where everything is meticulously planned and following the rules will undoubtedly lead to a successful life. Or so they say. It has quite the Stepford Wives vibe to it and I disliked the neighbourhood from the start.

Enter Mia and her daughter Pearl. From the beginning, it’s obvious these two free spirits will shake up Shaker Heights. Mia is an artist with a mysterious past and after extensive traveling, she’s decided to stay put in Shaker Heights with her daughter.

The story kicks off when someone sets fire to the house of the Richardson family. The who isn’t much of a surprise, the why is a different story altogether. Set in the 1990’s, Little Fires Everywhere tackles a number of topics from abortion to adoption. Most of all, its focus is on motherhood. From a custody case that will divide the community to how mothers see their children, encourage them or hold them back. Life in Shaker Heights will change dramatically.

I found the beginning quite slow. It didn’t seem like much was happening and it took me a while to get into the story. However, Celeste Ng’s writing is phenomenal, incredibly absorbing and immersive as you follow these characters, get to know them better and try to figure out where your loyalties lie. Even though the pace stays pretty much the same throughout the story, I became utterly invested in these characters’ lives.

My only misgiving is the open-ended conclusion. Things didn’t quite turn out how I expected them and I was left with questions I really wanted answers to. I wouldn’t mind at all if Celeste Ng decides to revisit some of these characters again some time. Little Fires Everywhere is a character-driven, wonderfully written family drama. If, like me, you pick this one up and you struggle in the beginning, do yourself a favour and keep going. It’ll be worth it, I promise!

Little Fires Everywhere is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads