The summer’s must read is here MARY JANE by Jessica Anya Blau is perfect for fans o f the 1970s nostalgia captured by Daisy Jones and the Six as well as readers of Judy Blume With hints of Almost Famous MARY JANE is a charming coming of age novel that perfectly captures that era of American culture, from rock music on the radio to family therapy on the beach.
Set in 1975 suburban Baltimore Blau’s breakout novel introduces Mary Jane, a sheltered teenage girl whose world opens up when she lands a summer job as the nanny for the daughter of a local doctor A respectable job Mary Jane’s mother says in a respectable house. The Cone house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it’s a literal and figurative mess: clutter on every surface, Impeachment: Now More Than Ever bumper stickers on the doors, cereal and take away for dinner. And even more troublesome (were Mary Jane’s mother to know, which she does not): the doctor is a psychiatrist who has cleared his summer for one important job helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife Jimmy and Sheba move in.
Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule and has a front row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll (not to mention group therapy). Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.
A nostalgic trip into the 1970’s MARY JANE is a timeless coming of age story about finding yourself, all wrapped up with lots of humour, a dash of teenage rebellion and plenty of rock and roll.
This was a great coming of age story set in 1975. Mary Jane is hired as a nanny for the summer but ends up helping the family in more than her paid role as nanny.
I absolutely loved getting lost in the 70’s in this book, it really felt like I was travelling back in time with each page. I adored Mary Jane’s character, she was just such a lovely young girl thrown into a world she had no clue about but still tried to do her best for Izzy.
I thought Izzy was a brilliant character and enabled the innocent questions that child ask to be included in the story which I think really added to the narrative. I also really liked the rock star couple they bought music and glamour to the book that made it a joy to read. The group dynamic together had me laughing many a time.
I love how it showed the idea of family not necessarily being who you are born into but who supports you and looks out for you. A really great, heart warming read.
Thank you to @harper360uk and @randomttours for my spot on the blog tour
Lucy Vine Millie is a perfectionist. She’s happy, she’s successful and, with a great support network of friends and family (and a very grumpy cat), she’s never lonely. She loves working at a big tech firm and is on track be promoted to her dream role. The last thing she needs is romance messing up her perfectly organised world. Besides, normal people just don’t have romantic relationships. Everyone knows that being in a couple is a bit . . . well, odd. You know, like having a pet snake or referring to yourself in the third person. Why rely on another person for your own happiness? Why risk the humiliation of unrequited love or the agony of a break-up? No, Millie is more than happy with her conventional single life.
So, when Millie lands a new project at work, launching a pill that prevents you falling in love, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. That is, until she starts working with Ben. He’s charming and funny, and Millie feels an instant connection to him. Will Millie sacrifice everything she believes in for love?
I read this authors debut book, The Shelf, last summer and really enjoyed it so when the chance to read her latest novel came around I jumped at the chance. I love how easy this authors work is to read even though it is always packing some big punches.
I really enjoyed how the author flipped the norm and really exposed how much is put on marriage in our culture, things I didn’t even really think about like the tax benefits to being married or even just in a couple is something that I have always just taken as a given but really why are people being penalized for being single?
The chemistry between the two main characters felt real and I could feel the tension simmering between them. The concept of Oxytoxin pill was frightening and yet such a clever idea, I really hope it never gets invented 🤣
For me the ending felt at odds with the whole tone of the book although saying that I would have been disappointed if it didn’t end that way so I think I must have been in a contrary mood!
This is definitely one your going to want to pick up this summer and I can’t wait to see what this author brings us next.
Thank you to @zaffrebooks and @tr4cyf3nt0n for my spot on the blog tour!
Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely. Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.
Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.
When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone.
Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, This Is How We Are Human is a powerful, moving and thoughtful drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family and to survive.
This is my 3rd Louise Beech Book and this one cements her in my auto-buy author list. I love that she can write so powerfully across genres so you never know what’s coming next!
In this story Sebastian wants nothing more than to meet a woman, and have sex, but he’s autistic which for him makes forming any kind of relationship difficult. His mother just wants him to be happy and thinks the solution is to hire a escort. Violetta has responsibilities to take care of and a nursing qualification to pay for, she is just trying to keep it all together.
I really loved Sebastian’s character, I thought he was a very loveable man with a good sense of right and wrong and he just felt so real to me, as did all the characters! I really felt for his mum as she really was jut trying to do her best but being on her own with no one to talk through raising a child with made her feel so alone. I loved the surprise twist, it was really clever and made me question my own judgements I might have made in that situation.
Reading the authors note I saw that Louise had worked hard to research and make sure that Sebastian’s character was right and that it actually based on a true story!!
Another moving tale from a master story teller who can weave emotion in to anything. Thank you @orendabooks and @randomttours for letting me be part of the blog tour!
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best magazine Book of the Year, and was followed by I Am Dust.
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 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.
As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?
ARIADNE gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.
“What I did not know was that I had hit upon the truth of womanhood: however blameless a life we led, the passions and the greed of men could bring us to ruin, and there was nothing we could do.” I absolutely adored this book, it was everything I hoped it would be and more. They way the author writes these forgotten women of history was just incredible. I was fascinating to read Adriane’s point of view but also to see some of the other women of history depicted in a different light. This was very easy to follow despite not having an in depth knowledge of Greek mythology, everything that needed explaining was described in a clear way without being to simplified or on the flip side not being overly wordy. The characters were brought to life on the page in a way that was tender and heart-breaking and so many lines really spoke to me, “I would not let a man who knew the value of nothing make make me doubt the value of myself.” The story touches on many aspects of female life that remain relevant today: unfaithful spouses, innocence of children, jilted lovers, unhappy marriages, maternal bliss, postpartum depression and the list continues. If you loved Circe or even just books about fierce women then this is going to be a must have for your shelves!
When she was thirteen, Lizzie lost her best friend in what she always believed was a terrible accident.
Even though she was with Alice when she died, Lizzie has no memory of the accident itself. Now there is doubt around if it was in fact an accident at all.
Alice’s friends and relatives seem to suspect Lizzie had a part to play in Alice’s death, but Lizzie knows that can’t be true. She would never have hurt Alice.
Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is finally beginning to feel like she can move on with her life.
But someone has other ideas.
Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge.
Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before her best friend Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. Skip ahead to 12 years later and Lizzie is moving on with her life, she has moved in with her fiancé and is going to go back to college. But strange things keep happening, is she being haunted by the past or is someone out for revenge.
This is the second thriller I have read by Lesley Kara as I was on the blog tour for who did you tell, and I think this is even better than the last. I read it in just a few sittings and was thinking about it when I was I put it down. The tension the author creates oozed off the page and at times I just wanted to shake Lizzie and say ‘can’t you see what’s happening here!!’
I did predict two of the main twists but in no way did this detract from my reading pleasure, in fact it enhanced it as it played out as I wanted it to in my head which gave me a whole separate sense of satisfaction.
Thank you to @randomttours and @lesleykara for my review copy of the book.
Lesley’s debut The Rumour was the bestselling crime thriller debut of 2019. It was a Sunday Times bestseller in both hardback and paperback, a Kindle No.1 bestseller, and has now sold over 350,000 copies globally. The Rumour has been optioned for TV by Cuba Pictures, and has sold in 15+ territories to date. Who Did You Tell? her critically acclaimed second novel was also a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.
Lesley is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives on the North Essex coast, inspiration for the locations in her novels.
When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy.
In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them. And when a member of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, she seizes the opportunity to permanently bind herself to this gilded set.
But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she’s been keeping a far darker secret than she could ever have imagined…
Laura Vaughan grew up in rural Wales and studied Art History in Italy and Classics at Bristol and Oxford. She got her first book deal aged twenty-two and went on to write eleven books for children and young adults. is her first novel for adults. She lives in South London with her husband and two children.
Jeremiah O’Connell made his name solving problems in London and now does the same in LA. The problems other people can’t or won’t touch? They’re the ones that end up at Jerry’s door.
Suddenly Jeremiah has problems of his own when he sets out to right a wrong and finds himself on the hitlist of one of LA’s most feared drug gangs.
As the stakes rise, so does the body count, and Jerry has the fight of his life on his hands. Now, with high-class escort Noah in tow, Jeremiah must revisit his old London stomping grounds and assemble his team in order to wage all-out war on the streets on Tinseltown…
Jerry ambled towards the strip club entrance, pulled open a
door and moved into a vestibule area, where a doorman sat
on a bar stool looking at his phone. Jerry tried to hide his
contempt, resisting the urge to tell the guy to get his arse
outside, which was where he should be. Standing. Watching.
Being a fucking doorman. Not sitting inside texting like a
The guy looked up at Jerry, down at his phone and then,
in a double take, back at Jerry. In the next second, he was
scrambling to his feet, broadening his shoulders and narrowing
his eyes. ‘What up?’ he croaked.
From behind him came the muffled thump of the strip
club music. The phone went away, hands into the pockets of
his bomber jacket. Making it clear to Jerry where he kept his
weapon – whatever that might be.
‘All right, mate?’ said Jerry. ‘You open for business, are
you?’ He was taking the piss, but it went clean over the head
of the doorman.
‘Always, always,’ nodded the doorman, ‘just as long as
you’re not after trouble . . .’
Jerry held up his hands. ‘Just here for the booze and the
The doorman held the door open for him and he moved
through into the foyer. A woman in a booth took his money.
He passed into the main club and took in the scene: dancers
gyrating at poles on a central stage; sleepyeyed
a clientele who looked like part of the furniture. The overall
feel was one of lethargy, boredom. The afternoon after a
heavy night when the world has nothing more to show you.
He took a seat, ordered from a waitress who introduced
herself as Ashley, and then, when she returned with the
bottle, asked her, ‘You got a girl here called Commodore?’
Lord D’Arque is dead, enquiries have led to the Lord’s loved ones being ruled out, and the search for a clear picture has put the servants of the manor in the frame. But what possible motive could the staff have for wanting their mean and miserly master murdered?
You’d be surprised what secrets are lurking behind the doors of the Manor!
The servants are our lead suspects and it’s up to you as detectives to prove which one committed the dastardly deed. Playing good cop or bad cop? Picking from these two game versions will determine the type of investigators you’ll be whilst you try to solve the crime, but which detective will crack the case first?
Foul Play is a murder mystery card game for 2-5 players in which you need to find three clues to work out who the murder is and then convince the other players that you know who it is and put your evidence forward to back it up.
I sat down to play this with my husband after putting the little one to bed. The set up was really easy and there is even a photo on the website that shows how it should look for anyone who is unsure. We started off playing good cop but quickly moved on to bad cop as we are both very competitive and wanted to be able to win quicker! The game was fast paced and fun and we will definitely introduce the family to it over Christmas. The one recommendation I would give is to read the instructions online over the small card instructions as they didn’t seem to be as clear about what do with cards you had played/picking up new cards so the first few games we ran out of cards!
Thank you to @damppebbles , @DamppebblesBTs and @afterdarkmurder for my chance to play along! Check out these other lovely bloggers who will be taking part over the next ten days:
Unfortunately, Tom Cooper, like the rest of the world, has found himself stuck in the middle of a pandemic. He’s going to be spending the next few months trapped inside a small flat with sole responsibility for his two single digit children.
Separated from his girlfriend (and any possibility of help with childcare), Tom is plunged into a world of home schooling, awkward Zoom calls, supermarket feuds, al fresco workout sessions, cash strapped tooth fairies, aging parents who won’t stay home and competitive clapping for the NHS. Not to mention the problem of trying to fulfil his girlfriend’s request for an erotic selfie of his rapidly deteriorating body…
Join Tom as he navigates the lockdown in the stand-alone sequel to last year’s hilarious The Rebuilding of Tom Cooper. Laugh-out-loud with real heart.
Lockdown has never been so entertaining!
To be honest I was a little worried about reading this at the start of a second lockdown but this was a thoroughly enjoyable look at lock down from the perspective of a single parent. I really liked seeing all the parts I didn’t see from living in the country side and I especially enjoyed the observations of how different lockdown was for the rich vs the poor as (not knowing any very rich people) was something I was curious about.
This book is more about the challenges and joys of raising children and all the hilarious situations they put us in and is one I would recommend to all if you want a fun, light hearted read. That being said it did have some very tender and real moments that had me welling up!
I didn’t realise this was the second book when I signed up for the tour but I am glad of that as I might not have said yes had I know and it read absolutely fine as a stand alone. I will definitely be on the look out for book one!
Thank you to @randomttours @marottebooks and @thespencerbrown for my copy of the book in exchange for review.
Spencer Brown began performing comedy with the Cambridge Footlights alongside John Oliver (HBO’s This Week Tonight) and Matthew Holness (Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace), before becoming an internationally acclaimed stand up. He has performed everywhere from London’s The Comedy Store to Mumbai and the USA, TV credits including Nathan Barley (Channel 4), Edinburgh Comedy (BBC 2), Last Comic Standing (NBC), his own special on Swedish television. As a TV presenter, he fronted ITV’s Lip Service alongside Holly Willoughby and Five’s The Sexy Ads Show. He is also the writer-director of the multi-award-winning film The Boy with a Camera for a Face. The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper is his second novel.
Introducing the first Alex Abbott thriller from former-Special Forces soldier turned No. 1 bestselling author Ollie Ollerton
Forget Bond and Bourne,
it’s time for a new kind of hero…
Ex-special forces soldier Alex Abbott escaped the Middle East under a cloud and now lives hand-to-mouth in Singapore. Scraping a living as a gun for hire and estranged from his family, Abbott is haunted by ghosts of the past, drinking to dull the pain. Life’s tough, but there is one upside – at least he’s not in Baghdad. That’s about to change….
When a job goes badly wrong, Abbott’s in hot water. Next, he learns that his military son, Nathan, is missing in Iraq. Knowing something is wrong, needing to find his son and desperate for redemption, Abbott has no choice but to go back. Returning to Baghdad, Abbott renews old acquaintances and begins his search for Nathan. The body count rises as old wounds open and he struggles to confront his demons, self-medicating the only way he knows how. But when one of his old crew turns up dead in mysterious circumstances and the link with Nathan is clear, Abbott begins to suspect a trap.
But who is the hunter? And who is the hunted?
Ex-special forces soldier Alex Abbot goes from one bad situation to another and ending up in Singapore haunted by his past and taking the occasional job as a gun for hire to fund his drink habit until his son, Nathan, goes missing, last seen in Baghdad, a place Abbott thought was firmly in his past…
This book is about a hero haunted by his past it has all the elements you would expect from this type of book, special forces, a missing child, fights, betrayals, old and new friendships and all while giving a glimpse of what life in Baghdad is like. It was page turningly good and I flew through it in a few days.
What a brilliant step into fiction by Ollie Ollerton. This was an action packed, fast and furious first novel and I will definitely be looking out for more. If you love Chris Ryan Strike Back books then you will enjoy this one.
Thank you to @Tr4cyF3nt0n and @bonnierbooks_uk for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.