#Review The Push by Ashley Audrain @audrain @michaelJbooks #ThePush

The Push
The Push by Ashley Audrain Michael J Books January 7th 2021

Book Synopsis

What if your experience of motherhood was nothing like what you hoped for – but everything you always feared?

‘The women in this family, we’re different . . .’

The arrival of baby Violet was meant to be the happiest day of my life.

A fresh start.

But as soon as I held her in my arms, I knew something wasn’t right.

I have always known that the women in my family weren’t meant to be mothers.

My husband Fox says I’m imagining it, but she’s different with me. Something feels very wrong.

Is it her? Or is it me?

Is she the monster? Or am I?

The Push is a heart-pounding exploration of motherhood, obsession and the terrible price of unconditional love.

My Review

Wow! I consumed this book in two heartrending sittings, it was that good. Where or where did Audrain send her mind and thoughts when she wrote The Push? It felt so personal, so deep, so affecting that when I closed the final page, I had to take a deep breath, close my eyes and think about what I had just read.

That’s when Audrain took us back to the beginning to Blythe’s life as a young girl, as a student, a girlfriend, a wife and finally a mother, the source of what we were about to read full of torment, anguish and love.

What followed was an outpouring of consciousness, of asking where it all went wrong, of internal conversations as to the rights and wrongs of motherly instinct and feelings. I found it utterly fascinating and mesmerising to the point I couldn’t stop reading.

Audrain seemed to think of everything from Blythe’s upbringing, a largely absent mother, who was at times cruel, heartless, loveless, distant and unreachable. Then we had her own experience of motherhood, the perceived feelings of overwhelming love that she should have had as her daughter was placed on her chest. Where was it, where were those feelings, was history to repeat herself, was she replicating herself own mother and upbringing?

The disconnect was absolute, the reactions of her daughter, Violet distressing, the questioning remarks from her husband Fox to try harder, seemed insensitive, dismissive.

Audain made me feel empathy with Blythe, I wanted people to believe her when she saw that glint of hate, of cruelty in Violet. And that was the most terrifying and indeed distressing aspect, that a little girl could seemingly wield so much power, manipulate, bend others to her will.

You watched as Blythe tried so hard, questioned her lack of feeling, that maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a mother until a son arrives and that motherly love rushed at her and consumed her.

You read as the dynamics of the family changed, a status quo achieved until bang, tragedy and the world fell apart.

It was hard to read the fallout, I felt frustrated and anger at those that surrounded Blythe, sometimes at Blythe herself as I wanted her to fight back, to prevail and find happiness.

The true impact of this novel lay in the final sentence, one that was hard to forget, that will linger long after you set the book down. You needed time to reflect, digest and marvel in the authors skill and wonder just where her next novel would take you.

About the author

Ashley Audrain Bio author of The Push novel

ASHLEY AUDRAIN previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada. Prior to Penguin, she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children. The Push is her first novel.

#Blogtour There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F. Ross @dfr10 @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheresOnlyOneDannyGarvey

There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F. Ross. Orenda January 21st 2021

The Blurb

Danny Garvey was a sixteen-year old footballing prodigy. Professional clubs clamoured to sign him, and a glittering future beckoned. And yet, his early promise remained unfulfilled, and Danny is back home in the tiny village of Barshaw to manage the struggling junior team he once played for. What’s more, he’s hiding a secret about a tragic night, thirteen years earlier, that changed the course of several lives. There’s only one Danny Garvey, they once chanted … and that’s the problem.
A story of irrational hopes and fevered dreams – of unstoppable passion and unflinching commitment in the face of defeat – There’s Only One Danny Garvey is, above all, an unforgettable tale about finding hope and redemption in the most unexpected of places.

My Review

There is definitely only one Danny Garvey and Ross’s portrayal was of a man who seemed to have the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. I was shocked to realise that he was approaching thirty, my assumption had been of a man so much older and I think this is what made Ross’s characterisation so brilliant.

Garvey, the footballer forced to retire in his prime, on his way back to his hometown of Barshaw to pull their football club out of the doldrums and maybe to confront and sleigh some demons. Ross certainly gave him some demons, an alcoholic mother, now dying, brother Raymond in jail and a missing girl.

It all conspired to unhinge an already vulnerable and fragile Garvey, Even though Ross used football as his outlet, his way to forget, it still wasn’t enough and like a man edging across an iced pond you knew at anytime the cracks would appear and Garvey would be in danger of being swallowed. And indeed that is exactly what started to happen as the quiet contemplative Garvey, suddenly became angry, confrontational, trapped between the past and the present.

His brother, Raymond’s release and his mother’s death led Ross to push Garvey further towards his limits, to finally stand up to his brother, and to confront his obsession with the missing girl. The pace of the narrative picked up pace and I felt like I was in a maelstrom of emotion, of action and it took me a while to digest and work out what had happened. I liked that Ross didn’t spell it out, make it clear but instead left the reader to make assumptions, to read between the lines, made us really think hard about what we were reading.

Now if you have the impression that the novel was largely dark, then yes you would be right, but Ross injected some lighter moments, moments that were full of hope. In particular I loved the relationship between Garvey and Raymond’s son Damo, his need to research his behaviour, his willingness to treat him with care and indeed love. Football was, of course an integral part, the joys of lower league part time clubs brilliantly portrayed, its importance to a small town never underestimated. The infighting, the on pitch disagreements were brilliantly done, and gave such a great sense of the passion felt by the player and managers.

There’s Only One Danny Garvey was, for me, Ross’s finest novel to date, Danny Garvey his finest creation. The mixture of football and human strife so brilliantly balanced and intertwined, the ending unexpected but somehow right.

Bravo Mr Ross

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of There’s Only One Danny Garvey to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night. His debut novel The Last Days of Discowas shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and received exceptional critical acclaim, as did the other two books in the Disco Days Trilogy: The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas and The Man WhoLoved Islands. David lives in Ayrshire.

#Blogtour Victoria Park by Gemma Reeves @g_c_reeves @allenaandunwinUK @annecater #RandomThingsTours #VictoriaPark

Victoria Park by Gemma Reeves Allen and Unwin January 7th 2021

The Blurb

Mona and Wolfie have lived on Victoria Park for over fifty years. Now, on the eve of their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, they must decide how to navigate Mona’s declining health. Bookended by the touching exploration of their love, Victoria Park follows the disparate lives of twelve people over the course of a single year.

Told from their multiple perspectives in episodes which capture feelings of alienation and connection, the lingering memory of an acid attack in the park sends ripples of unease through the community. By the end of the novel, their carefully interwoven tales create a rich tapestry of resilience, love and loss.

With sharply observed insight into contemporary urban life, and characters we take to our hearts, Gemma Reeves has written a moving, uplifting debut which reflects those universal experiences that connect us all.

My Review

Do we really know what happens behind the closed doors on our street? Are the faces we see every day really happy and cheerful or are they hiding anguish despair, or maybe even a secret?

Gemma Reeves took one street and its occupants and unlocked its doors, let its occupants spill out their thoughts and demons on our doorstep.

What I enjoyed was the broad spectrum of individuals Reeves brought to us, from the older couple struggling to live with dementia, to the young teenager grabbling with his gender identity. Indeed it was older couple Wolfie and Mona, that captured my heart, Wolfie’s love for a wife so clearly struggling with dementia, yet determined to hang on, to retain normality until the last possible moment. I found it deeply touching and full of sorrow as Mona’s mind took her back to the war and her memories of life as one of the children sent away on the Kinder transport. I loved Wolfie for his cooking skills, and the joy he found in food and being able to share with family and friends, his escape from the realities of the everyday.

At the other end of the spectrum was Freddie, son of Luca, sixteen and struggling to find where he fit into the modern world. Again it was handled with great skill by Reeves as she gave us glimpses into his thoughts, his friendship with Ana, that allowed him to explore and become more of just who he wanted to be.

The middle of the age spectrum was littered with the lesbian couple, their desire for a baby, the couple whose marriage neared an end and the single Mum who devotedly visited her comatose son hanging on to the possibility of a a miracle. Indeed it was her sons acid attack that Reeves used, along with her characters to bring the social layers of a community to the fore, a community that could be repeated many times over in the towns and cities all over the UK.

It could easily have been a mismash, an outpouring of narrative that sought to get in every single societal theme, but it wasn’t, the breakdown into the months of the year gave the book a neat, organised structure. Reeves gave us that sense of time passing, of the speed of change, moments and events that pushed her characters to pastures new, to new life and in one case death.

Victoria Park was a modern take on our world, told with care and emotion, and Gemma Reeves is an author to watch in the coming months.

I would like to thank Allen and Unwin for a copy of Victoria Park to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Gemma Reeves is a writer and teacher who lives and works in London.

#Coverreveal The Curious Dispatch Of Daniel Costello (Stonebridge #1) by Chris McDonald @cmacwritescrime @RedDogTweets #TheCuriousDispatchOfDanielCostello

The Blurb

Wedding bells are chiming in the idyllic, coastal town of Stonebridge. For Sam and Emily, it should be the happiest day of their lives. But on the morning of the ceremony, the best man is found dead. The police quickly write his death off as a tragic accident, but something doesn’t seem right to wedding guest and groomsman, Adam Whyte. Armed with an encyclopaedic, but ultimately ridiculous knowledge of television detective shows and an unwarranted confidence in his own abilities, Adam and his best friend (and willing Watson) Colin, set out to uncover what actually happened to Daniel Costello.

About the author

Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime. A Wash of Black is his first attempt at writing a book. He came up with the initial idea whilst feeding his baby in the middle of the night, which may not be the best thing to admit, considering the content. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs. Whispers in the Dark is the second installment in the DI Erika Piper series, and Chris is currently working on his latest series, The Stonebridge Mysteries, to be published by Red Dog Press in 2021.

Buy Links: 

Amazon Link: mybook.to/Stonebridge

Red Dog Press: https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/shop

Publication date: January 12th 2021

#Blogtour Banking On Murder by J.D.Whitelaw @JDWhitelaw13 @RedDogTweets #BankingOnMurder

Banking on Murder by J.D. Whitelaw Red Dog December 3rd 2020

The Blurb

Martha Parker runs a small private detective agency in Glasgow with her two sisters, Helen and Geri. They specialise in catching cheating partners and those playing away from home. 
The Parkers are hired by the reclusive wife of a wealthy banker she suspects is breaking their vows, but when he shows up murdered, it’s up to Martha, Helen and Geri to prove the wife’s innocence in their most dangerous case yet.

My Review

Don’t let the flowery soft cover of Banking On Murder fool you as the inner sanctum was anything but flowery, in fact it was a madcap tour around the streets of Glasgow in the company of the glorious Parker sisters.

Who were the sisters? They were Martha, Helen and Geri, who made up Parkers Investigations, they were diverse in character, each with their own individual strengths, yet when together they were a veritable force to be reckoned with.

Martha, the eldest was the practical, business like arm of the operation, the one who seemed to come up with all the ideas, the one they all depended on. Helen, the middle, the brains, the academic, the boring one, who like most academics wasn’t the most practical or streetwise. Geri, the youngest, a student, totally streetwise, seemingly hard as nails, out for a good time, who spoke before she thought, and acted like a bull in a china shop in what were potentially volatile situations.

I can’t say I had a favourite, they all had qualities I admired but it was when Whitelaw put them together that the fun began and fireworks exploded. Their investigation on behalf of Tracey Coulthard to out her cheating banker husband, Gordon, gave Whitelaw the perfect opportunity to showcase the Parker sisters in action and he didn’t disappoint.

From the start, his character Tracey Coulthard was over the top, feisty, and wonderfully unpredictable and you just knew the Parker sisters were in for a whole lot of trouble.

Whitelaw took us on a rollercoaster of an investigation that sent the Parker sisters in a myriad of directions as they followed leads that led them deeper and deeper into the depths of jealousy, and wealth. Their escapades were at times very funny, and two episodes in particular stood out and had me laughing out loud and sitting on the edge of my seat, as they teetered on a precipice that threatened to get them into more trouble than they were already.

Their relationship with Detective Pope was another of Whitelaw’s gems. She was stern, poker faced, a wheezing asthma sufferer who you felt could collapse at any moment as the Parker sisters pushed her to her limits and frustrated her. Pope, was the devil that sat on their shoulders, the killjoy that threatened to spoil all their fun, their prickly relationship an added bonus that I loved.

At times you felt the investigation was secondary, a tool by which Whitelaw could introduce us to the Parker’s, to show off their individual and collective talents. It didn’t stop him leaving little clues for us to pick up and mull over, for all those traits of a crime novel to shine through. The action, and escapades were all at break neck speed and Whitelaw didn’t give you chance to catch your breath before he hurtled the Parker’s into yet another close shave. The ending was thrillingly dramatic and everything you hoped for and wanted

Banking On Murder was a brilliantly thrilling breath of fresh air and I am eager to see what the Parker sisters get up to next.

I would like to thank Red Dog Press for a copy of Banking On Murder to read and review and to Meggy Roussel for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

J.D. Whitelaw is an author, journalist and broadcaster. After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, he moved into journalism. Subjects he has covered have varied from breaking news, the arts, culture and sport to fashion, music and even radioactive waste – with everything in between. He’s also a regular reviewer and talking head on shows for the BBC. Banking on Murder is the first of three Parker sister novels. They follow his hugely successful HellCorp series. His debut in 2015 was the critically acclaimed Morbid Relations.

You can a copy via the following links




#Blogtour Body Language by A. K. Turner @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #BodyLanguage

Body Language: 'Spellbinding storytelling' Val McDermid Kindle Edition
Body Language by A.K Tuner Zaffre November 26th 2020


Camden mortuary assistant Cassie Raven has pretty much seen it all. But this is the first time she’s come face to face with someone she knew on the slab. Someone she cared about.

Geraldine Edwards, the teacher responsible for her returning to education after she got ensnared in a life of drugs. The woman who acted as a second mother to the orphaned Cassie.

Deeply intuitive and convinced that she can pick up the last thoughts of the dead, Cassie senses that there must be more to the ruling of an accidental death. With Mrs E.’s evasive son demanding the release of his mother’s body, Cassie knows that time is running out to find answers. Is her grief making her see things that aren’t there? Or is her intuition right, and there’s something more sinister to Mrs E’s death than the ME thinks? Harbouring an innate distrust of the police, Cassie sets out to investigate the death and deliver justice for the woman who saved her life.

My Review

I’m going to sound a klaxon and announce a new crime duo have landed and that they were amazingly original and extremely good. Turner gave us Cassie Raven and Phyilda Flyte two women not without pasts and flaws but full of grit and determination.

Cassie was wonderful and I absolutely loved her. A brash goth mortuary assistant with a fascination for the bodies of the dead and an uncanny knack of hearing the dead talk. I loved her tattoos, her piercings, her intelligence and most of all her compassion for those who could no longer fight for themselves and her need to seek justice.

Flyte on the other hand, was a closed book, a hard exterior who you knew had a soft interior lurking somewhere on the inside but one which Turner made us wait to discover. She was tenacious, pedantic, a fish out of water in the new London borough of Cambden, but somehow Turner gave her a tough inner resolve who wanted justice just as much as Cassie

Turner didn’t give their relationship the perfect start, instead it was filled with trepidation, with wariness and you could feel the chill rise from the pages. There were Flyte’s suspicions of Cassie, that she was not as innocent as she seemed, that somehow she had was involved, her tattoos and appearance supporting her stereotypical perceptions.

For Cassie the death of Mrs E, her tutor, her friend, her mother figure was a wake up call from the personal dive downwards she found herself in and Turner brilliantly explored her background, gave us a real sense of who she was and what had shaped her. Turner pushed her boundaries, made her take risks that had me holding my breath as I waited impatiently to see if she would emerge unscathed. Her constant pushing pushed herself and Flyte closer together and we watched as Turner turned that suspicion to mutual respect and team work. She broke down some of Flyte’s barriers, gave Cassie a small insight into something that lurked in her past, that somehow bound them together.

Cassie and Flyte’s relationship was the most important aspect of the novel, but Turner didn’t forget that we also wanted that quintessential crime novel, the one that had the myriad of twists and turns, that had moments of drama and tension and she didn’t disappoint. Missing bodies, shady characters, gangland culture and drugs, all found their way into their realm, thwarting their investigation and putting danger in their way. The final pages brought surprising revelations and a wonderfully satisfying tying up of loose ends.

Body Language was not for the faint hearted or those of a squeamish disposition, Turner’s descriptions of post mortems didn’t hold back. They were wonderfully graphic, and I for one loved them, and found the inner workings of the mortuary absolutely fascinating. Turner gave a real sense of the cold, eeriness of the morgue, of the particular type of characters that could endure the work and the environment, and I just knew it would not be a place i could work!

As you can probably guess I loved Body Language and Turner left me wanting more and more and more of Cassie and Flyte. I do hope the wait for a second novel will not be too long.

I would like to thank Zaffre Books for a copy of Body Language to read and review and to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

A.K. Turner‘s first foray into crime fiction was a detective thriller trilogy, written under the pen name Anya Lipska, following the adventures of Janusz Kiszka, a fixer to London’s Polish community. All three books won critical acclaim and were twice optioned as a possible TV series. In her other life as a TV producer and writer, A.K. makes documentaries and drama-docs on subjects as diverse as the Mutiny on the Bounty, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and Monty Don’s Italian Gardens.

#Blogtour Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalsen #GunnarStaalsen @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #FallenAngels

Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalsen Orenda Books November 12th 2020

The Blurb

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Eighth in an international-bestselling series of Nordic-Noir thrillers.

When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly reunited with his old friend Jakob – the once-famous lead singer of 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.

Their rekindled friendship come to an abrupt end with a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writer.

My Review

Staalesen has never been about crashing, fast paced thrillers, his novels have always been about that slow burn, a laying of foundations, the layers piled upon one another as the chapter and the pages flipped by.

Fallen Angels was no exception except this time it was a novel of introspection, of a Veum who had to trawl his own memories, to revisit happy and not so happy times. I have to say I loved this about turn, I felt we got to see a different side to Veum, a more human, caring side, one that craved and perhaps still craved love and closeness but wariness and fear made him take a step back and retreat back within himself.

It brought him back in touch with childhood friends, with his first love, Rebecca his friends group The Harpers and the Bergen music scene they once all frequented. Staalesen was nothing if not brilliant in his ability to portray the in fighting of a band of such diverse characters, of the hangers on, the relationships, marriages and children that sprang up. What Veum and indeed, us could not understand was the sudden break up, the scattering of its members and then years later the deaths. Like Vuem we wondered if there was a connection, if maybe something traumatic had occurred, one that sent someone on a killing spree, acts of revenge.

If Staalesen gave us a glimpse of an alternative Veum he also gave us the usual dogged and pedantic Veum, the private investigator who left no stone unturned, who went where the police neither had the time or the inclination. It took him on a tour of the city of Bergen, of the surrounding area and the islands that floated off its coastline.

I felt like a tourist with the most wonderful tour guide who described the beauty of the mountains, the vastness of the sea, and the differing landscapes of the islands. It wasn’t always beauty, as we travelled to the less salubrious suburbs of the city, of the run down state of the houses the characters found themselves in. The two sides of Bergen so perfectly reflected the two sides of the novel, the light and shade Veum found himself grappling with as the stakes rose higher, as the lies and deceit became ever more tangled and the knowledge that what happened was truly shocking.

The truth when it came was indeed shocking, and whilst the perpetrator had committed crimes I knew were wrong, I somehow couldn’t blame them, could see that they felt there was no alternative, a chance to release all the pent up anger and betrayal that built over many years.

What did it mean for Veum and his friends? For me it was the closing of a chapter, something Staalesen knew he had to do for Veum before he could move him forward. Maybe Veum could now find the love and happiness that he so craved, to take that risk and open his heart to all the good things that might be to come.

Whatever Staalesen has in store for Veum you know you will still get that sense of anticipation and excitment as the new novel falls into your hands and you open the covers and immerse yourself in those first few pages.

I would like to thank Orenda for a copy of Fallen Angels to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Gunnar Staalesen

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction, and Big Sisterwas shortlisted in 2019. He lives with his wife in Bergen.

#Blogtour The Heat by Sean O’Leary #SeanO’Leary @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours

The Heat by Sean O’Leary BusyBird Publishing

The Blurb

Jake is a loner who works nights in a Darwin motel and lives at the YMCA. He’s in love with Angel, a Thai prostitute who works out of the low-rent Shark Motel.

A vicious murder turns Jake’s life into a nightmare. He must fight for his life on the heat-soaked streets of Darwin and Bangkok in the wet season to get revenge, and to get his life back.

My Review

There was certainly Heat in Sean O’Leary’s novel The Heat, in fact it practically oozed from the pages of this short novel.

Darwin, Australia was hot and humid a brilliant setting for tensions to rise, as the characters wilted and overheated. Our main protagonist, Jake, was one mixed up individual, a serious mental illness and a penchant for walking into trouble. I don’t think he actually sought it out, I thought he was just unlucky that the places he frequented attracted danger and crime. I think it was O’Leary’s intention and it made Jake extremely likeable, a person who was trying to get his life together but just hit a few obstacles along the way.

It was his friendship with Angel that brought him into contact with the less salubrious side of Darwin, the streets and hotels, the everyday tourist might not have frequented. She may have been a prostitute but that didn’t stop Jake from seeing the other side, a person who hated what she represented and did yet the desperation to provide for a family at home in Thailand, the main focus.

It was Jake’s loyalty to Angel that brought danger and a frantic search for her family, but also allowed O’Leary to examine Jake’s own family, the relationship with his father, the absence of his mother. It took the novel away from being purely crime, gave it that added extra human touch and emotion which I enjoyed.

O’Leary didn’t go for long descriptive narrative but kept it short and crisp, his words economical, a technique that I admired as he managed to squeeze so much into very few pages. It meant we gamboled along at quite a fast pace, never time to catch a breath before Jake hurtled into the next fight, or flight from danger.

As a reader I wanted Jake’s crusade to be successful, hoped for reconciliation and a recognition of the good intentions that often lay beneath is mental health induced outbursts. It was a great combination of crime and human issues and I for one was positively melting with The Heat as I finished the last page.

I would like to thank Sean O’Leary go a copy of The Heat to read and review and to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Blogtours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Sean O’Leary has published two short story collections, ‘My Town’ and ‘Walking’.  His novella ‘Drifting’ was the winner of the ‘Great Novella Search 2016’ and published in September 2017. He has published over thirty individual short stories and is a regular contributor of short fiction to Quadrant, FourW, Sudo, Close to the Bone (UK) and other literary and crime magazines. His crime novella ‘The Heat’, set in Darwin and Bangkok, was published in August 2019. Drifting and The Heat are both available on Amazon. His interviews with crime writers appear online in Crime Time magazine.

He has worked in a variety of jobs including motel receptionist, rubbish removalist/tree lopper, farm hand, short-order cook and night manager in various hotels in Sydney’s notorious, Kings Cross. He has lived in: Melbourne; Naracoorte; Sydney; Adelaide; Perth; Fremantle; Norseman; Geraldton; Carnarvon; Broome; Yulara; Alice Springs; Kakadu; Darwin and on Elcho Island-Galiwinku. He now lives in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, thinks that test cricket is the greatest game of all and supports Melbourne Football Club (a life sentence). He writes every day, likes travelling and tries to walk everywhere.

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seanolearyaustralianwriter

Website: http://seanolearyauthor.simplesite.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oleary4119/

#Blogtour In the Sweep Of The Bay by Cath Barton @CathBarton1 @LouiseWalters12 @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtourd #InTheSweepOfTheBay

In The Sweep Of The Bay by Cath Barton Louise Walters Books November 23rd 2020

The Blurb

This warm-hearted tale explores marriage, love, and longing, set against the majestic backdrop of Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells, and the faded splendour of the Midland Hotel.

Ted Marshall meets Rene in the dance halls of Morecambe and they marry during the frail optimism of the 1950s. They adopt the roles expected of man and wife at the time: he the breadwinner at the family ceramics firm, and she the loyal housewife. But as the years go by, they find themselves wishing for more…

After Ted survives a heart attack, both see it as a new beginning… but can a faded love like theirs ever be rekindled?

“A tender and moving study of a marriage” Alison Moore, author of the Booker short listed
The Lighthouse

My Review

In The Sweep Of The Bay was an absolute gem, I loved it. My only complaint was that it was too short yet somehow Barton managed to pack so much in, her narrative economical, but to the point and conveyed so much emotion but also joy.

Barton’s characters sparkled from the page even if they didn’t quite sparkle in their lives. It primarily centered around Ted and Rene and followed their marriage in the 1950’s right up to the present day. Their marriage was a historical journey of societal changes, attitudes and opinions and I marveled at Barton’s ability to immerse me in their thoughts and reasonning.

For Rene her role was firmly set in the home and throughout her need to maintain a house that was squeeky clean, and husband and children that walked out of their front door clean and tidy. Yet she also used that role to hide her feelings, to resort to the kitchen when thoughts threatened to over take, to upset the equilibrium. You felt there was someone deep inside that wanted to break away, to shout and scream and as the years progressed to let out all the angst and anger she felt. In true British style and perhaps at the thought of societal constraints and the culture instilled within her she remained quiet and just got on with it.

Ted was sort of your typical husband, a successful businessman with a talent for painting ceramics. He knew his role was to provide for his family, to go out to work but also to expect a clean house and dinner on the table at the end of the day. But, like Rene did he too yearn for something different yet remained because that was expected?

Barton brilliantly infiltrated their relationship, from the first throes of love, to the joy of their two girls, but she injected an edge, doubts in our minds that what we and everyone else saw on the outside wasn’t really what was actually happening on the inside. You got more and more frustrated as their inability to communicate became more and more evident, the little niggles, the coldness, the shrugging away of a gentle, loving hand on a shoulder. There were glimmers of light as an event pushed them together, as a crack appeared in their hard hearts and Barton made you breath a sigh of relief and gave you hope that the love was still there.

Outlying characters flitted in, Vincenzo and Henry who navigated their homosexual relationship, Madge Ted’s assistant who remained unmarried, loyal, a hint of unrequited love sprinkled thoughout.

What bound them all together wasn’t just love and relationships, but the town of Morecambe, the windswept bay, the sparkle of the summer, the dark and bleakness of the winter. The statue of Eric Morecambe stood tall and proud, a magnet for locals and tourists, a focal point, something to be proud of. It made you question if Ted and Rene were proud of their marriage, or was it full of regrets, of not chasing their hearts, of being happier than they actually were?

Whatever the conclusions, I was totally blown away by In The Sweep of The By it was wonderfully exquisite.

I would like to thank Louise Walter Books for a copy of In The Sweep Of The Bay to read and review and Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Cath Barton. Author pic. Feb 2020.jpg

Cath lives in Abergavenny, Wales. She won the New Welsh Writing AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella in 2017 for The Plankton Collector, which was published in September 2018 by New Welsh Review under their Rarebyte imprint.

Her second novella In the Sweep of the Bay will be published in November 2020 by LWB.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CathBarton1

Website: https://cathbarton.com/ Louise Walters Books: https://www.louisewaltersbooks.co.uk/cath-barton

Louise Walters Books: https://www.louisewaltersbooks.co.uk/shop-1

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3ez3EwP

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3k7aVF6

Foyles: https://bit.ly/2U0o3Bs

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3ka6d9Hhttps://bit.ly/3ka6d9H Kobo: https://bit.ly/2U5Nm5c

#Blogtour The Memories We Bury by H. A. Leuschel @HALeuschel @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours

The Blurb

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, whose own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In The Memories We Bury the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

My Review

There’s nothing like a novel with psychological mind games to immerse yourself in during these dark autumn nights of lockdown and Leuschel definitley kept me hooked.

She gave us Lizzie, newly married to Markus and expecting her first baby. At home all day, no family and very much isolated as Markus worked long hours, often away. She was in many ways a sitting target, ground down by a dismissive husband, hormones all over the place and when baby arrived more vulnerable than even she imagined.

Leuschel’s stand out character, Morag, lived next door, again, lonely isolated, desperate to have what she felt she had lost, the love of her children and grandchildren that she could love. Lesuchel gave us small glimmers of a hardened misguided woman that would stop at nothing to get what she wanted and Lizzie was her ideal and indeed easiest target.

What drew them together? At first it was their shared loneliness, but then Leuschel gave us a glimpse into their past family lives and slowly a clearer picture emerged. Lizzie haunted by a mother that always criticised, was cold, and the death of her beloved Grandfather who gave her all the love that she so desperately craved. Morag, master of control, of perfection, whose children left at the first opportunity, a dead husband who tried and failed to stand up to her.

As a reader we became helpless as we watched the events unfold, as Morag slowly exerted authority, as Lizzie slowly lost control. Leuschel left us wondering how it would end, as she continued her gentle winding of the coils until suddenly they snapped and the narrative became faster, more urgent.

Whatever the ending, which of course you will need to discover for yourself, the Memories We Bury was an intelligent examination of the psychological damage our up bringing can have on our later lives. It was vivid, realistic and utterly compelling.

I would like to thank Helene Leuschel for a copy of The Memories We Bury to read and review and to Love Books Group for inviting My Booksih Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind.

Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists.

She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal. Please find out more about Helene at heleneleuschel.com or on Facebook and Twitter.



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