I am delighted to share my review today for Recycling For Beginners by Misha Herwin. I have read several of Misha’s books in the past and I was delighted to be able to grab a spot on the Blog Tour for her latest book.
My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot ont he tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.
The time has come for Jane to sell the family home. Downsizing to a flat means that everything must go, but her late husband’s favourite chair is far too precious for the tip.
Meanwhile, Robyn, balancing her precarious career as a portrait artist with raising an autistic son, is searching for a chair with panache that will allow her sitters to pose in comfort.
Elsewhere in the city, Tracey is clearing out her wardrobe at the same moment that divorced and cash-strapped Debbie is frantically seeking a prom dress for her daughter.
None of these women have ever met until Freecycle brings them together and their lives are about to be changed in ways they could never have imagined.
Jane decides that it is time to get rid of her late husband’s chair, too good to dump but not good enough to sell. She decides to advertise it on her local Freecycle site. From this chair, a connection is formed that stretches further than just one chair moving from one household to another.
The author has used the act of offering items that still have use and life in them for free. From this, she has then woven such a fabulous story that delves into the lives of various people. An artist, a single mum, and a very stressed mum. None of the women knows each other, but it is the chair that brings in a link to them.
I loved everything about this story, it gave a glimpse into the lives of the characters, their homes and their families. Bringing up children, tackling problems with finances, with illness and then the general coming and going of life, work, and love. Relationships can be brittle and there are times when you need support, sometimes it can be a simple act of kindness that can make the world of difference to someone. From the smallest act of help to giving a large amount of time, the author has included it in some form within this story of stories.
It is a story of different lives and therefore different threads, these have been tweaked and nurtured wonderfully by the author. This was a wonderful book that I adored, the stories of each family were emotional but in very different ways.
This is one for readers who like a good heart-warming contemporary fiction story about families doing what families do. An absolutely wonderful book and one I would definitely recommend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
Misha M Herwin is a Staffordshire based writer. When not writing she runs workshops for adults and children, including youth groups at the New Vic Theatre, and events such as the 6×6 Story Café for Stoke Libraries. She spends what spare time she has with family and friends, reading, working in her garden and baking. Scones are a speciality.
I am delighted to share my review today for The Best, Most Awful Job edited by Katherine May. A book that features 20 women writers who have each wrote about motherhood, the good, the bad and the heart breaking.
My huge thanks to Alison for arranging my copy from Eliot & Thompson Publishers.
Motherhood is life-changing. Joyful. Disorientating. Overwhelming. Intense on every level. It’s the best, most awful job.
The Best, Most Awful Job brings together twenty bold and brilliant women to speak about motherhood in all its raw, heart-wrenching, gloriously impossible forms.
Overturning assumptions, breaking down myths and shattering stereotypes, these writers challenge our perceptions of what it means to be a mother – and ask you to listen.
This is a book of experiences from 20 writers, their experiences of motherhood. Being a mum myself I was intrigued by this title. The Best, Most Awful Job. Yes, being a mum is one of the best things but why is it also the most awful? This book is an open and honest selection of accounts from women who are mothers and from however their path to motherhood was.
The book explored things that are not spoken about after the birth of your child, you know, things down below, will they ever be the same again or how on earth will I ever be able to walk normally! Obviously, things do return and you do walk normally, but often these are not spoken about.
Some of the stories are very poignant and how while pregnant you tend to lose your identity and are often asked “How’s Mum doing?” then after the birth, you are then ignored as people asked about “baby”. I remember knowing loads of mums at school but often didn’t know their names. I was one of the many who became so and so’s Mum.
The 20 authors are from a range of backgrounds and ethnicities. Different countries and cultures. Yet some things are the same no matter where you are from. There are stereotypes and stigmas in all aspects of society and there are some that are very much worse than others.
I can remember with my first child, being in hospital and being treated well as I was a married young mum. The unmarried young mum, who was similar in age discharged herself after two nights as she was not given the same level of support. This was in 1989, and I still remember feeling so sorry for her, but afraid to say anything as the midwife at the hospital tended to be older and if I am honestly quite scary. I will say that by the time I had my final child things had improved, younger more patient-centred midwives were around and they had no prejudice at all.
This book looks at motherhood from the perspective of each authors viewpoint. Whether it is a step mum, mum with a disability, mixed-race mum, and many others. I will not mention them all as I want to leave plenty for other readers to discuss.
After reading this book I understand the title much more. Yes, being a mum can have some awful moments, but there are also many, many of the best moments ever.
This is a book that anyone can read, it will be eye-openeing for some, it will make others nod knowingly but most of all it brings the doubts, worries and stereotypes out in the open. We discuss many things and this is another thing we must talk about more, be more open about and not keep the horrible bits hidden. Being open and discussing things makes life so much easier.
A fabulous collection of experiences and it was a pleasure to read. Some are very sad, others warm and hopeful and others make a stand. It is a book that I would definitely recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my review today for Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce. This is the second book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles. I loved the first book Dear Mrs Bird and this second book is just as good.
My thanks to the publisher Pan Macmillan for my advanced e-copy that I requested via NetGalley. This book is also #3 in the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.
From the author of the “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) and international bestseller Dear Mrs. Bird, a new charming and upliftingnovel set in London during World War II about a plucky aspiring journalist.
London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.
When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.
Every bit as funny, heartwarming, and touching as Dear Mrs. Bird, Yours Cheerfully is a celebration of friendship—a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up, even in the most challenging times.
I have been waiting for a follow on to Dear Mrs Bird and Yours Cheerfully is a fabulous 2nd book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles.
Emmy Lake wanted to be a war journalist, she did get a job but not quite the one she imagined. It was for an Agony Aunt Column in a magazine called the Woman’s Friend. Set during WWII Emmy is making her way in the magazine world. this magazine is a small friendly publication that is full of tips on clothing, making the best of what you have, gardening, cookery and of course advice.
The Ministry call on magazines to help recruit more women to work in a bid to help out the war effort. A chance meeting with Anne a mother of two gives her an insight into women working in the factories. the women are determined in doing their bit, but they feel they are being treated as men would be and that fact hey they have children and homes to look after is not being taken into account. This sets Emmy on something of a mission as the factory women become friends, she still has to be careful about what she writes due to censorship.
I loved how the author has continued the story of Emmy and also her good friend Bunty. There is enough information given to get an idea of the first book, but I would recommend reading it as it was such an excellent one.
Once again the author includes a letter from readers who seek advice during a worrying time. For young girls working for the first time, for mothers who have children to care for alone, she touches on how widows are treated and the conditions that women who are effectively single parents during wartime deal with in life.
The author has brought the style of the magazine, which was seen as one of the little publications for older readers into the forefront. Giving Emmy a larger role so that she is able to really get to grips with the working woman life. There is politics, there is a certain amount of elitism and snobbery and there is the old boy’s brigade that comes into play. But during all this, the author does remember that Emmy has a life outside of the magazine. One that involves her boyfriend Charlie.
Once again the author has created such an addictive read. She deals with issues of the day in such a way as it makes the reader care about the issues. Some of the things I was not aware of and it has been an enlightening read as well as an emotional one. It does have its moments of sadness but also many moments of hope. A gorgeous story and one for those who like historical fiction during WWII. It is one I would definitely recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am absolutely delighted to share my review for This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech. This is an author who doesn’t stick to genres, she explores many emotions. She makes it impossible for me to write a review that comes anywhere close to doing her writing justice!
My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher, Orenda Books.
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 heart-breaking and heart-warming, 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.
“Though This is How We Are Human is fiction, the premise was inspired by my friends, 20-year-old Sean, who is autistic, and his mum Fiona. Fiona had spoken to me about how much Sean longed to meet a girl and have sex. No one talks about this, she said – the difficulties navigating romance often faced by those on the spectrum. It ’s an issue that I wanted to explore. Fiona and Sean encouraged me and guided me through the book; Sean regularly consulted on dialogue, rightly insisting that his voice was heard, was strong, and was accurate. I cannot thank my extraordinary friends enough for their help and support.” Louise Beech
So here is my attempt at a review…
Whenever I pick up a book by this author I know I am going to be in for something special. even though I have not yet read all of her books, I have read enough to know that when I do read one it is going to leave me with tears, This Is How We Are Human is no exception.
The story explores the love a mother and what she will do to give her son as ‘normal’ a life as she can. The story gives a voice to Sebastian who has autism. This voice is the louder one, and opened up my eyes a lot. The story is about what a daughter will do to look after her father.
So, three main characters and each one unique, each one doing what they can, each one doing their best. Sebastian is 20, he has perfectly normal sexual desires, but as he doesn’t have a girlfriend his mother believes she is doing the right thing by hiring an escort for him.
The escort, is doing all she can to keep on top of her studies, look after her father and pay the bills. The only way she can do this is by taking on additional work in the evenings. It is not way she planned for her life to pan out, but needs must.
The three lives are very much intertwined as the author gradually weaves her story. She not only does a fantastic job of bringing them to life, but she also made me care about all three. The character and story of Sebastian is based on the experiences of people the author knew. As I read I was aware that Sebastian’s voice sounded genuine, it had some sort of real and authentic sound to it. This was because of Sean, the person behind the story.
Once again, the author has woven something special. While we try our best not to make assumptions, we try not to be prejudiced, we will and do fail at some point. As much as we try our best to right by other, or to help, there will be a time when we have to stand back. We have to allow life and the natural course of things happen.
This is a story that doesn’t really fit into a genre as such. It is a human interest story, it is a coming of age story, it is challenging the reader to see beyond the labels of society. It also gives some insight into autism, how not only those who are diagnosed with it live, but also how family and other people perceive autism.
This is a special story that has made me once again has me struggling to convey how unique this author and her writing is. I didn’t find this uncomfortable reading at all, I found it emotional and heartfelt. Warm and genuine. The author took a story and created something that was about the people rather than the sex or the autism.
Such an amazing book to read. It s a book that once I began I did not want to put down. I adored this and I would highly recommend it.
About the Author…
The author of Maria in the Moon, The Lion Tamer Who Lost and I Am Dust returns with a beautifully written, powerful and thought-provoking novel that will warm your heart.
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.
Check out the other stops on the tour…
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
When Helen Rolfe messaged me to ask if I would would like to read her latest Heritage Cove book, Summer Serendipity at the Twist and Turn Bakery, it was a no brainer. Absolutely! Delighted to! It’s Heritage Cove and of course it is one of Helen’s books!
So, I am delighted to share my review today and would like to wish Helen a very Happy Publication Day 🙂
It’s summer in Heritage Cove, the picturesque village by the sea. Join some of your favourite characters and welcome new faces in this uplifting, romantic read brimming with character, community and friendship…
The Heritage Bakery is finally getting the makeover it deserves, with sisters Jade and Celeste modernising the place and putting their own stamp on it while retaining all the charm of days gone by. But Jade has far more planned than a brand-new kitchen and fancy cake designs. She’s ready for an even bigger change in her life. It’s almost time to take the next step and she knows just what to do to make that happen.
Etna owns the village tea rooms and when she hears that local man Harvey is looking for a labourer to help him renovate the bakery after being let down at the last minute, she suggests to her nephew Linc that it may just be the change he needs to get his head straight. Linc arrives in the Cove willing to give it a go and he works hard, but what he hadn’t envisaged was anything bordering on a romance – not with his track record or what he’s involved in right now.
When a tall, dark, handsome stranger appears in the village and turns Jade’s world upside down, will it be enough to make her abandon her plan before she even sets the wheels in motion? And has Linc missed his chance to tell her how he really feels?
It’s almost time for the wedding of the year for one of the village favourites and the annual Wedding Dress Ball. But when the sun begins to set, will anyone else be lucky in love?
This summer read is Book 3 in a series of standalone novels set in Heritage Cove, the little village by the sea…
A wonderful romantic treat, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Ali McNamara.
What a treat it was to come back to Heritage Cove and catch up with all the locals once again. It is such a fabulous community and the author really captures the sense of belonging and offers such a warm welcome.
This is the 3rd book in the series and I have read them all and loved them. You could read each one as a stand-alone, as they do work well but in my opinion, you would be missing out on some fabulous stories about the unique residents and the bonds they have.
This store starts, as the title suggests, at the bakery run by my sisters Jade and Celeste. The story focuses on Jade and the intro doesn’t leave her in the best of moods. Hoping for a lie-in, she is rudely disturbed by a lot of noise. The refurb has started earlier in the day than she had arranged. Armed with a hangover she confronts the rude intruder.
Well, I have to say I would have been very much the same as Jade, I am not a morning person but I may make an exception if I was met by the gorgeous Linc! He is the nephew of Etna, the owner of the Tea shop. He is just odd-jobbing trying to work out if or where he is going to settle.
One thing you learn is how welcoming the Cove is, especially when there is a family link (or Linc!!!) Plans for the refurb of the bakery, alterations to the Waffle Shack, other odd jobs and offers of various kinds have been woven into this gorgeous story.
The author has once again created such a wonderful story but one where there is a secret or two that is lurking waiting to be told. These secrets mixed in with the goings-on in the cove, a wedding, the odd night at the pub with the regulars and of course the scrumptious mentions of food give the reader a whole lot to enjoy.
A gorgeous, family and community centred story that was an absolute joy to read. It had me grinning like a loon several times. A heartwarming and wonderful story that fans of this author will adore. One for readers of contemporary fiction and romance, and one I would definitely recommend.
About the Author…
Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community.
Never miss a release date! Sign up for the newsletter to get new book alerts.
Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries where she thinks her readers might like to escape to.
Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe.
Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she finally turned to what she loved and studied writing and journalism. She spent a while freelancing for women’s health and fitness magazines, volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases, and eventually began writing fiction in 2011. And now, she thinks she may just have found her dream job.
Helen currently lives in Hertfordshire, UK, with her husband and their children.
I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley. This is a fabulous historical fiction novel and it is the first book I have read by this author. I will be reading more.
My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy via NetGalley.
BRAND NEW FROM LIVERPOOLS’ VERY OWN BESTSELLING AUTHOR, SHEILA RILEY
1910 LIVERPOOL DOCKS.
Ruby Swift is a hard-working, straight-talking woman of substance who does not suffer fools gladly, But when tragedy strikes on a bitter Christmas Eve, Ruby and her beloved Archie take matters into their own hands when a trusted employee’s house is mysteriously engulfed by flames and lives are lost. Orphaned by the fire, Ruby welcomes heartbroken sixteen-year-old Anna Cassidy, into her home and family but circumstances conspire against them and she is unable to save Anna’s twelve-year-old brother Sam Cassidy, who is sent by the Church to Canada as a Homeboy. Can Ruby help mend a broken heart and can these two children ever be reunited or is there another higher game in play?
Mersey Mistress takes you on a journey to another time, another place. From the banks of the River Mersey to the frozen waters of the Canadian Saint Laurence River.
This is such an addictive historical fiction story that fans of sagas will love. The intro to the story is hard and cruel, it is representative of a time gone by.
Set in 1910 in the dock area of Liverpool the author weaves the story of two women. One who has turned her back on all she knows for happiness. The other trying to the best she can. Both women have suffered tragedy in their lives. They have endured the pain of losing family. Yet they have fought through and are survivors.
This is quite an emotional story at times, that did pull at the heartstrings. There are so many ups and downs that I found myself unable to stop reading. The author has captured the feel of society and also of the conditions of the time. She has successfully used her characters to show the good and the bad in a society of the time.
The story is such a fabulous read and even though it has heart-breaking moments, I also felt that it was balanced with a sense of hope. This is one that historical fiction/ romance and family saga readers are going to adore. It has the feel of the start of a much longer story, and I would love to see a follow-up. I read this in one sitting, it was that good and I would definitely recommend it.
About the Author…
Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing a new saga trilogy for Boldwood under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years. She still lives in Liverpool. Her new trilogy began with The Mersey Orphan in September 2019.
I am delighted to share my review for We Are Family by Nicola Gill. This is due to be published tomorrow along with many, many other books, but I hope you have this one on your list to buy.
My thanks to Avon Books for my e-ARC via NetGalley. My thoughts are my own.
You can’t choose your family…
Jess and Laura might be sisters, but they’re very different people. Laura is laid-back, eats cheese in bed, and takes life as it comes. Jess, meanwhile, is the classic overachiever: Chief of Chivvying, Queen of all WhatsApp groups. They’re family, but they’re not exactly friends.
…but you can let them in.
When their mum dies, the sisters struggle to agree on anything, from where to scatter the ashes to whether “passed away” is an acceptable term. But as life forces them together, Laura and Jess realise: the only way through this is as a team. After all, they’re stuck with each other – and drinking wine is more fun as a pair…
A funny, tender and thoroughly entertaining read for anyone who loved watching Fleabag, and is a fan of books by Marian Keyes, Fiona Gibson, Rachel Marks, Beth O’Leary and Mhairi McFarlane.
Purchase Links from Amazon UK – Kindle – Paperback – Audio (these are affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no cost to you)
The synopsis does a very good job of telling you what this book is about. Two sisters having to come together after the death of their mother to sort out funeral arrangements and clearing the belongings.
The story is one that I happily read in a day and I gradually got to know Jess and Laura. They are two very different women in their style and also their personalities as well as their lifestyle. I met Laura first who is a run ragged Mum of Billy and lives with her partner Jon. She seems to be the sort of woman who has no time for herself as she juggles her work, her family and trying to keep too many plates spinning in the air.
Jess, on the other hand, seems to be more organised, and in some ways, she comes across as slightly aloof, controlling and more stylish. This is something that is told from Laura’s point of view and when I met Jess I kind of agreed with Laura’s view. But as the story progressed I found that Laura did annoy me a little bit, she is jealous of what her older sister has and there is a lot of resentment.
The gi8lrs have to connect as best they can as they deal with their mum’s estate and slowly they begin to talk. There are some quite heartwarming moments in the story and also some very funny memories that are shared. This helps to build a bigger picture of the girls growing up and also kind of explains the lives the women now have.
This was a very nice read and one that shows the struggle of losing a parent as well as having to deal with resentment from the past. It is about having the chance to put the past behind them and move forward, but can they? There are hurtful memories and snide comments and while venting frustrations is a good thing they do cut quite deep emotionally.
An enjoyable read that I found very absorbing and entertaining, I liked the contrasts between the women and their lives, opinions, outlooks and traits. Ideal for readers who like a story that has a little sibling rivalry and like a story about families. It is one I would recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this absolutely gorgeous book.
Let me show you what it is all about…
How gorgeous is that cover? 😍
Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow
Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?
As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.
But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.
Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.
Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…
Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.
Purchase Link –Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)
Wow-what an amazing read this was. I started it as I got in the bath, 2 hours later I decided I really need to get out the bath! I then got dry, warmed up in PJ’s and then finished reading the book, it was that good!
This is the story of Samantha and her life, the people in her life and how she is treated. She has not had the best relationship with some of her family and when her cousin, who is also best friend marries her ex-boyfriend, then things take a real turn after the ceremony.
But in some ways, this leads Samantha to what will be the best fresh start she will ever have. It will also bolster her confidence, give her some well-deserved respect and make her realise that she is as good as everyone else.
This is a story that is so full of emotion, and not just the happy ones either. There were times where I was so frustrated at how Samantha was being treated, she is such a nice person and has the biggest heart, but this is just what some people need to take advantage and to manipulate.
Samantha has the sort of determination to crack even the grumpiest person and make their lives better for it. Thomas was just what she needed and without realising it, he needed her as well. Their relationship was very special, it brought back forgotten happy memories for both.
This is as much about the bond of friends and family as it is about making changes to life. It’s about taking opportunities and chances and running with them. Most of all it is about fulfilling a long lost dream and surrounding yourself with positive and special people.
A gorgeous book full of beautiful descriptions and it was an absolute pleasure to read. A romance with a whole lot of heart and soul and one I would absolutely recommend.
Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.
I am delighted to welcome you to read my thoughts as I help to kick off the Blog Tour for Boxer Boys Collection by Nick Rippington. My huge thanks to Nick for sending me the 3 e-book set and to Sarah Hardy at BOTBSPublicity for the invite onto the Blog Tour. This collection is a series of 3 books and I will try by best to give you a mini review for each book…
But first how about I let you know what the Boxer Boys Collection is all about…
Some Family feuds just won’t go away… For 40 years the Dolans and the Marshalls have lived side by side on the same rundown housing estate in east London. While teens Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan forge a close friendship, fighting constant battles to survive both on the streets and closer to home, the relationship between their parents is complicated and, at times, toxic. Gradually family secrets emerge which have their roots in the early 80s… and Gary and Arnie realise their entire upbringing was built on lies.
So first up is Crossing the White…
Gary Marshall is being bullied on the rundown London estate he lives on, local lad Arnie (Arnold) Dolan steps in and saves Gary from a beating. This is the start of a friendship that see’s the boys through their teens and is the start of the Boxer Boys.
It is a story of family, friendship, changing from kids into adults and watching each others backs. Over the course of the story it becomes apparent that Gary is drawn into the murkier side than he really wants to. Things go awry for Gary and his chances at living his dream in a career he is passionate about, instead he takes different route.
This is a gritty read that deals with teens in the sprawling and gang ruled estates of London. There are various things that have been dealt with and it adds to the authentic feel of the story.
A great first book in the collection and it made me want to know exactly what was going to happen next. So much so that I went straight onto the 2nd in the set.
This is a book that goes back to the era of Gary and Arnies parents, mainly the Dolans, but the Marshall’s do have a part to play. The Dolan family is made up of Big Mo & Beryl and, Chuck their eldest, it is also about Clive, Big Mo’s brother.
This has a different feel to it and it was nice to get to know more about the family of the boys I had met in the first book. Big Mo is, well tough to say the least. He has a fiery temper and is the sort that hits first and then asks questions later and he is the leader of a shady small group of friends. The Dolan’s have a reputation not to be messed with.
Clive and Mo are very different in what they want out of their lives. Mo is about power, reputation and money. Clive is about wanting more from his life and this is why he joins the Scots Guards. This is the time of Maggie Thatcher in the 80’s and the Falklands conflict. Nobody thought that would come to anything and so off Clive goes. History tells us that this was something and Clive is not the same person he was when he left.
This is a more emotional read as well as having more violence. It gives a great insight into the families, their priorities and loyalty. It’s all about the family and who they are.
Once again as soon as I had finished this one I was straight onto the next…
Back again with Gary and Arnie, or should I say Gareth and Arnie. The previous books were extensive in their groundwork and this is brought to a fabulous conclusion in Dying Seconds. It is 2016 and while Garth is dealing with a job in Wales, Rugby and Football matches, Arnie is having to come to terms with his new lifestyle.
He has had his role in the Boxer Boys changed and the families are fracturing with tension and suspicions are running at an all time high.
There is a lot for the two men to deal with and their responsibilities and loyalties have changed. Gareth’s past is brought up to date and he can finally deal with things that have been hanging over him for the past few years.
This is a tense 3rd book and it is where all the threads are finally pulled together and things slot into their proper places. It is a story full of doubt, suspicion and fear and it is full of pace.
OVERALL – this has been a great series and I really do apologise for being so vague, but I was aware that if I wasn’t careful then spoilers would slip out.
The three stories combine to give a fabulous insight in two main families and the trials and tribulations that go with them. There are so many things that happen along the way for not only the families but also the boys as well.
The style of the story is gritty and it fits so well with the gangland setting. As much as there is violence with the story as you would expect, there is also much more than that. It is a story that show the dynamics of family and society of the respective times the stories are set in. It is about loyalty and friendship and how long they can be stretched before something gives.
This has been a really good collection of 3 stories that are intertwined and linked and that span the years. They each have a connection to each other and yet at the same time each have a different feel in the way they read. After reading Nick’s Bio I can see that he brings his own knowledge and experiences to his writing. This is a collection that I thoroughly enjoyed each one of the books and I would suggest that they are definitely read in order, you could argue that they could be read as stand alone books but for me they worked perfectly as they were set out.
It is one of those collections that falls into several categories. I add my own tags and the ones I have chosen for this is, Urban Fiction, Family Drama, Family & Lifestyle and Contemporary Fiction as well as General Fiction. I think it is one would interest many readers.
A fabulous collection and one I would Definitely Recommend.
NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World
phone-hacking scandal you never hear about.
As the newspaper’s Welsh
Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days notice when Rupert Murdoch
closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid in 2011.
On holiday at the time, Nick
was never allowed back into the building, investigators sealed off the area
with crime scene tape and seized his computer, which contained all the secrets
to his Fantasy Football selections.
Handed the contents of his
desk in a black bin bag in a murky car park, deep throat style, Nick was at a
crossroads – married just two years earlier and with a wife and 9-month-old
baby to support. Options were limited but self-publishing was booming. Having
hit on an idea for a UK gangland thriller taking place against the backdrop of
the Rugby World Cup, in 2015 he produced Crossing The Whitewash.
The book was praised by
many, received an honourable mention in the genre category of the Writers’
Digest self-published eBook awards and more than 25 five-star reviews on both
sides of the pond.
Almost two years after
Crossing The Whitewash came the second in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel
called Spark Out, which was released in paperback on July 1 and for Kindle on
July 10, 2017. The book received an award for best cover of 2017 with the Chill
With A Book website, along with a readers award, before receiving the IndieBRAG
medallion from a prestigious site covering Independent writers and publishers
throughout the world.
The third book in the Boxer
Boys series Dying Seconds, a sequel to Crossing the Whitewash, was released in
Married to Liz, Nick is now a full-time back bench designer on the Daily Star sports desk and has two daughters – Jemma, 36, and Olivia, 8. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex. In the past he has worked for the Sunday Mirror, Wales on Sunday and Media Wales in Cardiff as an executive editor.
I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan. My huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and also to Headline Review for my copy of this beautiful book.
Let’s have a look and see what it’s all about…
Kingfisher Road – a leafy, peaceful street in the town of Vayhill. But there are whispers behind closed doors. Who is moving into Number 10?
Engaged to handsome, wealthy Justin Johnston, Danielle appears to her new neighbours to have the perfect, glossy life. But not everything is as it seems…
In fact, each of the other four women who live close by has a secret, and each is nursing their own private heartache.
But could a gift be waiting on their doorsteps? And, by opening their front doors, and their hearts, to each other, could the women of Kingfisher Road discover all the help they need?
This thirteenth and final novel from the beloved and inspiring Emma Hannigan is a life-affirming, uplifting story that celebrates the strength and joys of female friendship.
Emma Hannigan was the No. 1 bestselling author of eleven novels including Letters to Daughters, The Wedding Promise, The Perfect Gift, and The Summer Guest, as well as a memoir, All to Live For, which was about surviving an eleven year battle with cancer – facing cancer 10 separate times over the course of those years – and remaining strong, positive and warm. Very sadly, we have now lost Emma in the fight against cancer – she passed away at the end of February 2018.
The Gift of Friends went straight to number one on the bestseller lists in Ireland and has remained there ever since.
As I sit and write this review I feel quite emotional. I am so sad that such a talented and amazing author was taken far too soon. Sad also that it is only now I have read one of Emma’s books, though I do have 3 of her books on my kindle, no excuse! Emotional because of the beautiful story she wrote and also for the words in the Acknowledgments. Having read The Gift of Friends I am determined to read the rest of this authors books.
The Gift of Friends is a perfectly wonderful story. I was warmly greeted by the residents of Kingfisher Road, Nancy, Maia, Pearl and Betsey. A wonderful group of women who alternate between being carefree, friendly, loud, sensitive, bold and just a little bonkers, but in a very good way. They are not backwards in coming forwards with advice or opinion, by that I mean they very much say what they think. Poor Danielle is a little overwhelmed by her new home with Justin and also with the 4 women when they introduce themselves in their very exuberant way.
As much as I felt for Danielle, I couldn’t help but smirk as the author described this encounter. This was the start of a story that had me riveted as I got to know about Kingfisher Road and it’s residents. Danielle gradually gets to know these women and friendship forms. Bonds are built upon and she finds that not only are they able to help her settle in, but that she is also able to help them.
As the story unfolds I began to realise that things are not as rosy as they first appear. There is something that is held back by each of the characters. Even though they are very close I began to realise that certain things were kept secret. It was one of those scenarios that showed that we don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors. Not everything is shared, somethings are so deep and so painful that the owner of them wants to keep them buried, rather than talk of the secret they carry.
This book had me with so many “lump in my throat” moments, and at times that lump broke and left me in tears. It was such an emotional read with serious as well as more lighthearted moments and beautiful friendships. I got to gradually discover the truth about the households and their residents.
This story had such an easy flow to it and a wonderful balance between the more serious and also the lightheartedness. It is such a beautiful read and one I would Highly Recommend.
Emma Hannigan was an Irish author and blogger, best known for writing about her experience of suffering from cancer.
With a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, Hannigan’s mother and maternal aunt tested positive for the responsible gene, BRCA1. She also received a ‘positive’ result in August 2005, which carries an 85% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. In 2006, Hannigan underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy (or both breasts removed) and a bi-lateral oopherectomy (or both ovaries removed) to reduce the risk of cancer developing to 5%. However, breast cancer soon developed, “in the neck, shoulder and under my arm”, in 2007. After repeated treatment, a tumor always reappeared. She died at age 45 after her tenth battle with cancer.
See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Blog Tour
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx