#Blogtour Under A Greek Moon by Carol Kirkwood @carolkirkwood @HarperCollinsUK @annecater #RandomThingsTours #UnderAGreekMoon

Harper Collins 8th July 2021

The Blurb

Hollywood actress Shauna Jackson left the Greek island of Ithostwenty years ago and thought she would never return. Reeling from a scandal that has tarnished her success, she is drawn back to the beautiful olive groves and endless azure skies – and to the secrets she has tried hard to forget.

Looking down from his hilltop villa, enigmatic tycoon Demetrios Theodosis knows he can’t change the past, and looks to the future through his tempestuous daughter Ariana, but in trying to tame her free spirit, is he driving her further away?

My Review

Under A Greek Moon was a novel I didn’t know I needed until I actually began to read. From start to finish it was pure escapism, the glamour of hollywood, of sun kissed Greek islands and wonderful characters that lit up the pages.

Shauna was the red haired beauty who had conquered Hollywood but we all know that often there would be a price to pay, Kirkwood enveloping her in a scandal that made her stop and question everything. Luckily for us she looked back to her past and what might have been and gave Kirkwood the perfect excuse to send us back in time to life before Hollywood.

Kirkwood sent the young Shauna on a tour of Europe with best friend Roxy, until she separated them and Shauna found herself as a working crew member of a shipping magnates yacht and fate, the stars somehow aligned as Shauna was flung into the arms of devilishly handsome Demetrios. He was a man I think we would all swoon over as Kirkwood described his looks, his physique, yet looks are not all and underneath he was a man bound by family honour, by responsibility to his fathers business.

The island of Ithos became the backdrop of what you knew would not last, a summer romance destined never to be and the following years showed a Shauna and Demetrios with widely different career and life paths.

I loved the glitz and glamour of Shauna’s life, yet Kirkwood always gave you that uneasy feeling of something missing, something fame and fortune could never provide. When all appeared to fall apart Kirkwood sent her back to Ithos and the magic of the island appeared to envelop her once again.

Demetrios’s own path to present day wasn’t all sweetness and light and Kirkwood pushed a veritable weight of expectation on his shoulders, the only light, his daughter. Ithos pulled him back time and time and again and you desperately wanted them to meet once again to see if the magic, the love and attraction still existed between himself and Shauna.

Obstacles inevitability stood in their way, Kirkwood putting caution, apprehension in their way but we all know that there is always a conclusion be it happy or sad. Which one would Kirkwood choose??

As we bask in a glorious heatwave Under A Greek Moon was the perfect novel, romance, glamour and unashamed escapism that I absolutely loved.

I would like to thank Harper Collins for a copy of Under A Greek Moon to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Carol Kirkwood is one of the BBC’s most loved TV presenters, best known for presenting the weather. She lights up viewers’ homes every day, appearing on programmes such as BBC Breakfast, Strictly Come Dancing, Wimbledon Tennis Fortnight, and Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 Breakfast Show.

She is hugely popular with fans and Carol frequently trends on Twitter. Beyond the television screen, she can often be found ensconced in a book, singing, dancing, and driving fast cars.

#Blogtour Everyone Is Still Alive by Cathy Rentzwnbrink @CatRentzwnbrink @Phoenix_Bks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #EveryoneIsStillAlive

Phoenix 8th July 2021

The Blurb

It is summer on Magnolia Road when Juliet moves into her late mother’s house with her husband Liam and their young son, Charlie. Preoccupied by guilt, grief and the juggle of working motherhood, she can’t imagine finding time to get to know the neighbouring families, let alone fitting in with them. But for Liam, a writer, the morning coffees and after-school gatherings soon reveal the secret struggles, fears and rivalries playing out behind closed doors – all of which are going straight into his new novel . . .
Juliet tries to bury her unease and leave Liam to forge these new friendships. But when the rupture of a marriage sends ripples through the group, painful home truths are brought to light. And then, one sun- drenched afternoon at a party, a single moment changes everything.
EVERYONE IS STILL ALIVE is the story of several families who live on the same suburban street, all secretly struggling with the anxieties of the modern world whilst trying to maintain the illusion that everything is fine. This is a novel about guilt, grief, working motherhood, the mental load, envy, fear and status, but it’s also about love, friendship, community and how we figure out what really matters.

My Review

How would Rentzenbrink’s first foray into fiction be, would it meet all the expectations after such a well received, critically acclaimed non fiction book? I can quite categorically state that it definitely lived up to all expectations and in so many differing ways.

Firstly there was Magnolia Road, the epitome of middle class, of family homes, parents with good jobs and a sense of community, a road those on the fringes aspired to live.

Then and perhaps most importantly were the families, largely centred around Juliet, her husband Liam and son Zac.

Reclaiming Juliets mothers home after her death, Juliet was in that vulnerable grief stricken state where emotions and issues magnified, the need to be all to everyone yet always coming up short were ever present in Rentzenbrink’s narrative.

That seemed to be theme throughout, the competition to be better than the rest, to have what others had, yet finances, circumstances often the final stumbling block. I think that is why I enjoyed the novel so much, each woman Rentzenbrink featured had a little of something that resonated, Helen’s lack of confidence, of exhaustion, Lucy’s boredom of her husband. Rentzenbrink seemed to capture the varying aspects of marriage, the continual work needed, the compromise, the roles of each set, the feelings of inadequacy, the lack of passion and respect.

I think we all believe that to some degree we could have it all but Rentzenbrink , through her families showed that that just isn’t possible as one incident on one sunny day finally opened the cracks and couples, individuals had to face the truth, an inevitability that we saw on the horizon but were never sure when the author would set of the little time bomb.

It made me look back to my own marriage, my divorce, where I am now and that is what so impressed, Rentzenbrink’s ability to understand, the many angles, the recriminations from both sides. The fall outs were life changing, provoked thought, but in a way part of a healing process, of honesty and truth. The characters were made to look inward at their own actions, responses, their effect on husbands, friends and children, It gave them enlightenment, appreciation, the tools to which they could enable compromise and almost importantly change.

It was a novel that exceeded all my expectations and more, a novel of everyday families brought vividly and brilliantly to life.

I would to thank Phoenix for a copy of Everyone Is Still Alive to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Cathy Rentzenbrink grew up in Yorkshire, spent many years in London, and now lives in Cornwall. She is the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of THE LAST ACT OF LOVE, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize, and the acclaimed memoirs A MANUAL FOR HEARTACHE and DEAR READER. EVERYONE IS STILL ALIVE is her first novel.

#Blogtour One August Night by Victoria Hislop @VicHislop @headlinepg @annecater #RansomTbingsTours #OneAugustNight

Headline July 22nd 2021

The Blurb

25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony.And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.
When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister,Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.
In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.
Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.

My Review

The first question I asked was would a reader needed to have read The Island? Simple answer was no, yes it would have helped but Hislop made only minor references and on the whole it could be read as a standalone.

It visited characters many had met before their lives ambling onwards until the island of Spinalonga was needed no more, a cure for leprosy the saviour for many. For Maria, spoilt indulged wife of wealthy landowner Andrea Vandoulakis, the imminent release of sister Anna spelt disaster, for Manolis trepidation, for father Giorgios joy and happiness.

Hislop wove a heady mix of emotions and tension before a fatal blow as lives exploded beyond recognition. It was interesting to see in what direction Hislop would send her characters. You weren’t sure if you should feel empathy or sorrow for Manolis as he escaped to Athens, grief etched within his being. His objective was to forget but of course Hislop didn’t make that easy for him, and we read as he internalised his feelings and indeed his history from those around him. Hislop surrounded him with wonderful individuals whose own stories unfolded, a common thread between them all, that bound them together, and in some ways they healed each other.

I definitely felt huge empathy for Anna as she fought against the stigma of leprosy, of the huge human capacity for forgiveness that Hislop gave her. Her visits to a prison were starkly chilling and you admired her tenacity as she returned time and time again. I liked that she looked forwards, not back, that she tried to see the good in everyone no matter their crime, as the reader took her to their hearts.

What I liked was Hislop mirroring of a Greek nation and its people rebuilding after years of war and occupation with the rebuilding of her characters lives. As Greece’s fortunes flourished then so did Anna and Manolis’s, and those around them, as Hislop gave them hope and more importantly a future.

If there was one thing that I took away from One August Night was the beauty of Greece, of its islands and its people. Maybe one day I can visit again.

I would like to thank Headline for a copy of One August Night to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour

About the author

Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony,Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller, has sold more than six million copies and was turned into a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of theYear at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, and in the number one bestseller The Return she wrote about the painful secrets of its civil war. In The Thread, Victoria returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale ofThessaloniki and its people across the twentieth century. Shortlisted for a British Book Award, it confirmed her reputation as an inspirational storyteller.
Her fourth novel, The Sunrise, about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the enduring ghost town of Famagusta, was a Sunday Times number one bestseller. Cartes Postales from Greece, fiction illustrated with photographs, followed and was one of the biggest selling books of 2016. The poignant and powerful Those Who Are Loved was a Sunday Times number one hardback bestseller in 2019 and explores a tempestuous period of modern Greek history through the eyes of a complex and compelling heroine. Victoria’s most recent novel, One August Night, returns to Crete in the long-anticipated sequel to The Island. The novel spent twelve weeks in the Top 10 hardback fiction charts.

Her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.
Victoria divides her time between England and Greece and in 2020, Victoria was granted honorary citizenship by the President of Greece. She was recently appointed patron of Knossos 2025, which is raising funds for a new research centre at one of Greece’s most significant archaeological sites. She is also on the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

#Blogtour Reckless by R.J McBrien @r_mcbrien @welbeckpublish @SophMidas @midaspr #Reckless

Welbeck Publishing 22nd July 2021

The Blurb

You think you’ll stay the same – you won’t. Infidelity will change you forever. There can be no going back.

Kirsten Calloway knows she should be grateful. She has a stable marriage, decent job, and a wonderful teenage daughter. But she also has a raging libido that won’t shut up, and a husband who’d rather go on a bike ride.

She bumps into an old friend at a school reunion who faces a similar problem. Dianne, though, has found the answer: a discreet agency which arranges casual sex for people just like them, people who want to keep their marriages but also scratch that itch.

Enter Zac: younger, handsome and everything Kirsten could hope for in bed. For a while, they seem to have it all. Kirsten even finds herself becoming a better wife and mother. But Zac wants more – a lot more, and he’ll stop at nothing to get it.

Sexually charged, shocking and relatable, Reckless is a profound exploration of marriage, motherhood and desire.

My Review

You’re married, your daughter is well on her way to uni yet the freedom that it promised seemed distant, a dream. Married to a husband who didn’t look twice, no emotion or even love it was no wonder McBrien saw a need for his character Kirsten to seek out the odd thrill. That thrill was definitely more than she bargained for but gave McBrien licence to push her boundaries as she sought a sex life more exciting than her current non existent one.

What was not to like about a service that matched you with like minded people those that wanted to stay married but wanted that extra bit of excitement? I loved the cloak and dagger of the first initial meeting with Zac, the hesitancy before McBrien took of the veritable cuffs. You knew it was too good to be true as their meetings ramped up, as Zac’s actions and behaviours blurred the boundaries.

And then McBrien delivered a killer blow, and Kirsten was left scrambling for answers, paranoia and fear of being discovered loomed ever closer until a fabulous curve ball from McBrien that even I didn’t see coming. The outcome was different from what I expected and that’s what made me love this novel.

It wasn’t just the unexpected, I liked the alternating dual time lapses, Kirsten being questioned by police, Kirsten enjoying her hidden secret whilst maintaining that family work life facade. There were traces of regret, fo wanting to turn back the clock, but you knew that wasn’t possible as McBrien upped the stakes, the fear of losing what she held most dear.

The police interviews, their ever more are probing questions allowed McBrien to up the tension to squeeze ours and Kirsten’s nerves, waiting for that moment when someone or something would surrender.

I loved the ending, it made me smile with deep satisfaction, of good coming from a grim situation.

Knowing McBrien has a pedigree in TV dramas and I did feel Reckless would translate brilliantly onto our screens and I did wonder if this was the authors intent, if yes then brilliant I cannot wait to watch.

I would like to thank Welbeck Publishing for a copy of Reckless to read and review and to Midas PR for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the Blogtour.

About the author

Richard ‘RJ’ McBrien attended York University, the Sorbonne and SUNY Buffalo, completing his education at Yale Drama School as a playwright. After a year teaching in Beijing, he returned to the UK to write and teach in London, where he also began writing for TV, both on existing shows (mostly notably, Wallander, Merlin, and Spooks) and his own shows (The Debt for the BBC and Trust for ITV, amongst others).

#Blogtour Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl @alexdahlauthor @HoZ_Books @midaspr

Cabin Fever
Head of Zeus July 8th 2021

The Blurb

Alone and isolated in a vast Scandinavian forest, a therapist begins to read her client’s novel manuscript, only to discover the main character is terrifyingly familiar…

You are her therapist.

Kristina is a successful therapist in central Oslo. She spends her days helping clients navigate their lives with a cool professionalism that has got her to the top.

She is your client.

But when her client Leah, a successful novelist, arrives at her office clearly distressed, begging Kristina to come to her remote cabin in the woods, she feels the balance begin to slip.

But out here in the woods.

When Leah fails to turn up to her next two sessions, Kristina reluctantly heads out into the wilderness to find her.

Nothing is as it seems.

Alone and isolated, Kristina finds Leah’s unfinished manuscript, and as she reads she realises the main character is terrifyingly familiar…

My Review

I’m all for a psychological thriller with flashing sirens and the requisite characters chasing all over but every now and again you want something that’s a little slower, that takes its time, allows you to think about the themes and the characters and Cabin Fever was all that and more.

Dahl was a master of building those all important foundations, the beautiful psychotherapist, Kristina, married to a successful politician, the beautiful home and wealth, but scratch below the surface and it was altogether different.

The famous author Leah, damaged by domestic abuse, Kristina’s patient until one day she didn’t turn up, and Kristina knew she had to find out why. Her best friend Elizabeth the third wheel who held the all important key to Kristina’s own past.

Yet the why’s were so much more, as Dahl cracked open the psyche of all three women, gave them their own voices, all the better for the reader to try and understand their reasoning, their actions.

At first they all appeared victims, and yes they were but it was what the affects and what they chose to do with their experiences that Dahl so brilliantly analysed.

I bought into Kristina’s ‘goodness’ her actions all done with the best of intentions, Leah the perpetrator, the manipulator, the one who stacked all the cards before they all gradually began to crumple. Dahl was so clever in using her unfinished manuscript as a lever that forced Kristina’s to examine her own psyche, to realise she had been played but for us the reader a different story emerged. Here was a woman who was the ultimate control freak, not only of herself but also of others, her clever use of words, use of triggers was wonderfully fascinating and you couldn’t help but admire Dahl’s skill. Dahl had obviously done her research, and translated it so brilliantly to the page.

Yet Dahl also gave us suspense and a thrilling tense nervousness, the isolated cabin, the falling snow, the dense dark forest at night, blood, a missing gun. A woman alone, emotions all over the place, fear ever present, the reality of the who and the what full of spine tingling uncertainty that I lapped up.

I tried multiple times to understand, even guess the conclusion as Dahl switched between past and present, between Kristina and Elizabeth, the cabin and the manuscript. When Kristina’s husband turned up at the cabin you weren’t sure wether you felt relief or if something else, another surprise lay in store.

The truth when it emerged was shocking, unexpected but perfectly fitting, lives left shattered, yet justice imminent.

If you like an intelligent extremely well written novel that examined the psychology of its characters, that perfect balanced it with all the aspects of a fabulous tense thriller then Cabin Fever was definitely right at the top of the pile.

I would like to thank Head Of Zeus for a copy of Cabin Fever to read and review and to Midas PR for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Alex Dahl

Alex Dahl is a half-American, half-Norwegian author. Born in Oslo, she studied Russian and German linguistics with international studies, then went on to complete an MA in creative writing at Bath Spa University and an MSc in business management at Bath University. A committed Francophile, Alex loves to travel, and has so far lived in Moscow, Paris, Stuttgart, Sandefjord, Switzerland, Bath and London. She is the author of three other thrillers: PlaydateThe Heart Keeper, and The Boy at the Door, which was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger.

Follow Alex on Twitter (@alexdahlauthor), Instagram (@authoralex) and Facebook (alexdahlauthor).

#Blogtour All The Fun Of The Fair by Caroline Hulse @CarolineHulse1 @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #AllTheFunOfTheFair

All the Fun of the Fair
Orion Books July 8th 2021

The Blurb

It’s 1996, summer is coming, and eleven-year-old Fiona Larson is determined to make this her best year yet

The Fair is the only good thing that happens every year. And Fiona Larson is the only person in town who’s never been.

She’s pretended to go – but she’s never been allowed. Because, before Fiona was even born, her sister died there.

This year, everything will be different.

Fiona is about to turn twelve – older than her sister was. This summer, Fiona will save some money, make new friends, and finally have some fun at The Fair.

But what she’ll actually do is:
– Find a mysterious bag in a bush
– Spy on everyone
– Lose her only friend
– Make a lot of lists
– Learn the truth about what happened at The Fair…

My Review

You couldn’t help but fall in love with Fiona Larson, a quirky eleven year old who only wanted to go to the local fair but her sister who died there meant her parents flatly refused to let her attend. Why? That was a question Hulse had us guessing throughout and Fiona was determined to find out.

We read as Fiona navigated the halls of secondary school, of never quite fitting in, her naivety at times funny, her best friend Lewis her sometime accomplice. Their discovery of porn magazines and consequent sale at a car boat was genius, funny but with a serious aspect, to get the money to go to the fair.

Hulse made us rail against her parents, Danielle’s bedroom pristine, intact, never to be touched, the reason for her death something never to be spoken off. You understood their need to protect Fiona, but more than anything you felt Fiona deserved the truth. You sensed Fiona’s desperation as she hit constant obstacles but Hulse wasn’t going to let Fiona give in, the need to fit in, to confront retired journalists, her behaviour became more and more quirky as the day of the fair grew closer and closer.

You could almost say Hulse was spinning us around on the waltzers as we and Fiona became more and more confused until suddenly we stopped and the truth slipped out. It wasn’t what we were expecting, and that made it all the more sad and poignant and I’m glad Hulse didn’t take another tack as I felt it would have spoilt the feel of the novel.

All The Fun Of The Fair was a wonderfully light hearted look at grief, of not fitting in, of naivety, of growing up, and of the wonderful Fiona Larson and I loved it.

I would like to thank Orion for a copy of All The Fun Of The Fair to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Caroline Hulse lives in Manchester with her husband and a small controlling dog. Her books have been published in fourteen languages and optioned for television. All The Fun of The Fairis her third novel.

#Blogtour Songbirds by Christy Lefteri @christy_lefteri @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #Compulsivereaders #Songbirds

Manilla Press July 8th 2021

The Blurb

She walks unseen through our world.

Cares for our children, cleans our homes.

Her voice unheard.

She has a story to tell.

Will you listen?

Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. By day she cares for Petra’s daughter; at night she mothers her own little girl by the light of a phone. Nisha’s lover, Yiannis, is a poacher, hunting the tiny songbirds on their way to Africa each winter. His dreams of a new life, and of marrying Nisha, are shattered when she vanishes. No one cares about the disappearance of a domestic worker, except Petra and Yiannis. As they set out to search for her, they realise how little they know about Nisha. What they uncover will change them all.

My Review

I adored Songbirds, it was probably one of the most stunningly beautiful novels I have read in a long time. The characters, the words resonated from the pages, as you immersed yourself in the small village in Cyprus, in the mystery of Nisha, the most caring, beautiful soul who disappeared one Sunday evening.

The ramifications for those left behind was huge, but Lefteri unraveled them slowly, took her time, didn’t go in all guns blazing with blaring sirens, angry shouting. Instead we reveled in the individual voices of Petra and Yiannis as their past and present lives were laid bare, their shortcoming, their regrets.

For Petra, the broken relationship with daughter. Alika, the grief she carried for her dead husband, the guilt for never recognising that Nisha was more than just a maid, sent her into the underground world of the immigrant worker. The cruel employers, the agencies who charged excessive amounts to find them work, the families left behind as the maids worked long hours to send money home in the hope of providing a better future. It wasn’t just the practicalities Lefteri focused upon, but Petra’s emotional state, the gradual reconnection between mother and daughter, of learning to live with grief, to move forward and appreciate the now.

Yiannis, so complicated but what wasn’t was his love for Nisha, their relationship forbidden, under cover for fear of recrimination. You could sense his desperation of what he may have lost, of what he may have done that could have driven her away. Was it his connections with the less salubrious side of village life, of his merciless hunting of songbirds, a delicacy in the local resturants and clubs. It was hard to read Lefteri’s descriptions of their capture, their killing, their bird song slowly fading as they died in the nets. You understood his need for the money, but as he came to realise at what cost, and just how to extricate himself without recourse from those higher up in the chain.

If much of the novel centered around Petra and Yiannis’s search for Nisha, Lefteri never let us forget that Nisha wasn’t just a maid, a commodity, a person who cooked, cleaned, looked after Alika. Petra came to realise that Nisha was also a mother, a brave one who left her daughter at the age of two to earn money for her future, who also grieved a husband, had her own feelings and emotions. It made the search that more poignant and important,

The truth when it came was desperate, heartbreaking, a waste of what could have been yet for Petra and Yiannis a new beginning, a chance. to right the wrongs.

Songbirds was a novel never to be forgotten the narrative beautiful and poignant, with characters that will live long in the memory.

I would like to thank Zaffre for a copy of Songbirds to read and review and to Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Brought up in London, Christy Lefteri is the child of Cypriot refugees. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Brunel University. The Beekeeper of Aleppo was born out of her time working as a volunteer at a UNICEF supported refugee centre in Athens.

Twitter: @christy_lefteri

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#Blogtour Damage by Caitlin Wahrer @CaitlinWahrer @MichaelJBooks @ellamwatkins #Damage #TheDamageisDone

Damage

The Blurb

Sometimes, the true story is the hardest to believe.

TONY has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when Nick is badly hurt and it looks like he was the victim of sexual assault, Tony’s anger flares.

JULIA is alarmed by her husband Tony’s obsession with Nick’s case. She’s always known Tony has a temper. But does she really know what he’s capable of?

NICK went out for a drink. After that, everything’s a blank. When he woke up he found himself in a world of confusion and pain, and the man who hurt him doesn’t deny doing it. But he says the whole thing was consensual.

Three ordinary people; one life-shattering event. And when the police get involved, this family in crisis might be capable of anything . . .

Set to ignite debate and as gripping as your favourite box-set, Damage is a compulsive drama from an extraordinary new writer.

My Review

Do we truly know the devastating consequences of crime, the depth of emotion not just to the victim but to the wider family. What about the detectives that investigate and indeed those that look from the outside in, the newspapers and social media?

I don’t think we will ever truly understand but Wahrer did an amazing job of giving us some insight that really did make me question my own perceptions and thoughts.

What made the novel, what made it stand out were the unique voices of her characters, the effect, the actions as they absorbed the enormity of what had happened. Yes it had happened to Nick, rape by another man, but I felt the onus moved to his family, to those who didn’t know how to help, how to feel, the extreme actions they contemplated and took.

Julia appeared to take the lead, the lynchpin that seemed to try to hold it altogether. She was the steadying influence to husband Tony’s intense need to protect, to heal Nick, the lawyer who knew what the law could and could not do. Her relationship with Detective Rice the key as she met him a few years later and the truth slowly wormed it’s way out.

Tony, brother, intensely protective of Nick, the shield that protected him from alcoholic parents, that wrapped him in cotton wool determined to save him from the dangers of the world. Wahrer sent him into overdrive, his intense need to ‘fix’ the situation meant she pushed his thoughts and behaviour to the extreme.

What of the victim in all of this, Nick? Wahrer showed a man full of shame, of embarrassment that he couldn’t fight back. There was fear of what others would say, was he ‘asking for it’, was going back to a motel with another man clear intention that he wanted it or indeed got what he deserved? As he fought with his emotions, with the trauma, another truth emerged, yet we only felt empathy, sadness.

Detective Rice, wasn’t the pushy detective we are so used to reading, Wahrer gave him a gentle almost fatherly manner. Yes he wanted to bring justice, but he was our eyes that looked from the outside in. What did he see? A family that was slowly disintegrating, but also Julia, a woman who had inner strength, a capacity to go where she never thought she could, yet her actions had clear intentions. Wahrer showed a man at odds with his oath to the law, his catholic faith, his need to understand, before cancer took him prematurely.

Wahrer threw all those thoughts, questions together, made us really work hard to understand and make sense of what was happening, what direction we would be taken in and indeed how it would all end.

Was it the ending I wanted or indeed expected? For me it was a mixture of both, but at the end I understood why and admired the way in which Wahrer had managed to raise so many questions both moral and ethical whilst at the same time maintaining all the essential elements of a mighty fine novel.

I would like to thank Michael J Books for a copy of Damage to read and review and to Ella Watkins for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Caitlin Wahrer is a Maine girl through and through. She was born to two hippies who raised her in Canaan, a small town in central-southern Maine without a single stoplight in it. Caitlin left the state for four years to study criminal justice and marriage and family studies at a college in Pennsylvania. She returned to Maine after graduation to attend law school. She practices civil litigation in Portland. She and her husband, also a lawyer, live in South Portland with their dog.

#Blogtour Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone @C_L_Johnstone @ScribnerBooks @The_WriteReads @WriteReadsTours #UltimateBlogTour #Mirrorland

The Blurb

Twelve years ago my life began again.
But it was a lie.
With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland
is the story of twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave
behind.
Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and
No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they grew up. As girls,
they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates,
witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that
El now lives there with her husband Ross.
But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to
the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still
full of shadowy, hidden corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held
secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues all over
the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies
crouched and waiting…
A sharply crafted mystery about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a
propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom.
Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, and Daphne du Maurie

My Review

I was trying to think what genre I would place Mirrorland but decided that it didn’t perhaps belong in any but stood on-its own. It had a mystery, was thrilling, was superbly suspenseful, psychologically deep, and incredibly dark. In fact so dark, that you had to take a breather at times to emerge into light and take stock at what you had read.

Johnstone’s characters were wonderfully complex. Cat our narrator, the twin returned from America convinced her twin, Els was not dead, enthralled by Els devastated husband Ross. Yet the answer to El’s disappearance lay not in the present but the past and the way in which Johnstone wove Cat’s childhood memories with present day was just brilliant.

The house, No 36 Westeryk Road was just as much a character as its human equivalents and Johnstone used it to dazzling effect. The Clown Room, Bluebeards room where none daredto breech, and then the hidden room, Mirrorland, a place of safety, of pirate ships, of adventures on the high seas.

Cat’s memories brought back to life as emails, letters arrived, as El’s diary pages formed a treasure hunt, a hunt reluctantly embarked upon, a suppressed reality of childhood that slowly emerged with horrifying clarity, tinged with fear and danger.

The relationship between Cat and Ross deepened, and Johnstone made us sway to and for as we tried to work out if Ross really was the distraught husband or a callous, controlling man with deep dark secrets of his own.

Johnstone’s narrative was tight, economical, the imagery utterly brilliant to the point my imagination ran wild. It wasn’t until the latter parts of the novel as Johnstone released Cat’s true memories that you were left utterly horrified, the truth almost too much to bear.

Yet out of the darkness you hoped there would be light, redemption, closure and a future for Cat that broken, damaged woman who had barely lived a life of truth and openness.

Some may not agree with the ending but for me it was perfectly fitting and I applaud Johnstone for engaging and enthralling me for a very tense and nerve wracking three days

I would like Scribner for a copy of Mirrorland to read and review and to Write Reads for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Carole Johnstone is an award-winning writer from Scotland, whose short stories have been
published all over the world. Mirrorland, a psychological suspense with a gothic twist, is her debut novel.
Having grown up in Lanarkshire, she now lives in the beautiful Argyll & Bute, and is currently working on her second novel: a very unusual murder-mystery, set in the equally beautiful Outer Hebrides.

#Blogtour The Darlings by Angela Jackson @AngelaJ @EyeandLightening @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #TheDarlings


When Mark Darling is fifteen years old, he is the golden boy, captain of the school football team, admired by all who know him. Until he kills his best friend in a freak accident.He spends the next decade drifting between the therapy couch and dead-end pursuits. Then along comes Sadie. A mender by nature, she tries her best to fix him, and has enough energy to carry them both through the next few years.

One evening, Mark bumps into an old schoolfriend, Ruby. She saw the accident first hand. He is pulled towards her by a force stronger than logic: the universal need to reconcile one’s childhood wounds. This is his chance to, once again, feel the enveloping warmth of unconditional love. But can he leave behind the woman who rescued him from the pit of despair, the wife he loves? His unborn child?

This is a story about how childhood experience can profoundly impact how we behave as adults. It’s a story about betrayal, infidelity and how we often blinker ourselves to see a version of the truth that is more palatable to us.

My Review

The Darlings, Mark and Sadie a normal couple in a normal everyday marriage but what if you looked below the surface? Would all be well or would there be little ripples just waiting to became something more? Of course Jackson wasn’t going to let Mark and Sadie carry on with their everyday life’s she was going to examine the minutiae of their marriage, open up the cracks and make them, especially Mark decide just what was important.

We all have flaws but Jackson gave Mark a few more than normal, an incident as a school boy and his accidental killing of a fellow pupil haunted his life, wife Sadie the one who quite literally put him back together. Yet Jackson gave us a fed up Mark, a mundane life, the trauma of IVF, and a new baby on the way seemed to make him exhausted, stuck in a rut until a chance meeting with an old school friend, Ruby. And that’s where the trouble began but also where Jackson very cleverly and slowly picked Marks life apart.

What did Ruby offer that Sadie couldn’t. For me it seemed to be a better understanding of the accidental killing of his best friend. She was there, she knew how much it had hurt him, but she also offered escape from everyday life, excitement, the thrill of forbidden assignations. Did I hate him for it, no I didn’t, Jackson actually made me feel a modicum of sympathy, of a man who clearly needed a break, who perhaps needed something to awaken the senses, the appetite for life.

I did feel sorry for Sadie, the strong one, the fixer, the one with drive and ambition but perhaps she need to wake up too, to emerge from the anguish of infertility and to realise that their relationship mattered just as much as a new baby.

Mark and Ruby became bolder, took more risks, and you knew the inevitable would surely happen. What you didn’t know was if Mark and Sadie would survive, or if the grass really was greener on the other side.

Whatever the outcome I revelled in Jackson’s ability and skill in pulling apart a marriage, a man and the wonderful story she was able to tell.

I would like to thank Eye and Lightening for a copy of The Darlings to read and to review and to Damp Pebbles Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Angela Jackson is a former psychology lecturer and teacher trainer. Her debut novel The Emergence of Judy Taylor won the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award and was Waterstones’ Scottish Book of the Year. 

 The Darlings is her second novel.

 Originally from the north of England, she now lives with her family in Edinburgh.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelaJ

Website: http://www.angela-jackson.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelaedinburgh/

Purchase Links:Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3cpZ7gk

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3v3OgiD

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3v409Vw

Hive.co.uk: https://bit.ly/34ZEaVq