A Little Bird Told Me- Blog Tour

 

Besides, if you were one half evil, wouldn’t you want to know about the other half?

In the scorching summer of 1976, Robyn spends her days swimming at the Lido and tagging after her brother. It’s the perfect holiday – except for the crying women her mum keeps bringing home.

As the heatwave boils on, tensions in the town begin to simmer. Everyone is gossiping about her mum, a strange man is following her around, and worst of all, no one will tell Robyn the truth. But this town isn’t good at keeping secrets…

Twelve years later, Robyn returns home, to a house that has stood empty for years and a town that hasn’t moved on, forced to confront the mystery that haunted her that summer.

And atone for the part she played in it.

 

A Little Bird Told Me is the kind of novel that I absolutely love. Two time frames that you are equally drawn to and whose stories you can move between effortlessly. Marianne Holmes writes both timelines so convincingly that you really feel that you’ve spent time in these worlds, making it very hard to pull yourself away. It’s a novel made for long autumn afternoons and I got lost in it over a relaxing weekend in Comrie earlier this month.

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This is an engaging read with lots going on beneath the surface. Robyn’s life, in a small town where adult life seems like a mystery waiting to be solved, has been perfectly created. Robyn has deliberately cut herself off from things she can’t bear to think too closely about and her isolation draws us into her world whilst holding us at arm’s length too, which Robyn does to everyone – even her own mother. The secrecy is such a fantastic technique to draw us closer to Robyn; I found myself watching her every movement to see if I could catch a glimpse of whatever she was hiding. Her secrecy hints at the emotional damage that occurs as this tale unfolds – and Marianne Holmes leaves us to guess about what’s going on alongside Robyn – a very clever method of keeping us connected to her.

.A Little Bird Told Me: a twisty yet tender debut about family, secrets, and the lies we tell ourselves by [Holmes, Marianne]

Robyn’s world is upended by a strange man who follows her as she tags along after her brother, which spells the beginning of some very mysterious goings-on. This part too is convincingly conveyed – without being over the top or stretching our belief in Robyn’s story. Her subsequent journey to unravel the secret that’s been locked away for years is a fascinating and unputdownable one which really brings the setting to life and allowed me to lose myself in its twists and turns whilst remaining wholly connected to Robyn and her long-held secrets.

 

I often find that dual narratives can result in you flicking forward to the one that you found more engaging. Not so here. There was a pleasing balance of the past and present and both timelines were so well-drawn that I felt like I could immerse myself in both and wanted to dedicate my attention to the way that one affected the other, rather than feeling that one overwhelmed the other. The 1970s setting is an intriguing one for me as it’s when I grew up too – so I really loved time travelling into my own past within these pages.

 

The atmosphere of secrecy and drama is perfectly maintained throughout this wonderful novel; the perfect recreation of 1970s Britain was a sheer pleasure and was something that I wanted to read more about as soon as I’d finished reading A Little Bird Told Me.  Even though I was reading it in Scotland in Autumn, I felt this summer setting come vividly to life as I walked in the footsteps of these characters and experienced their compelling  stories

 

Holmes is such a talented voice. She draws the reader into her characters’ worlds and makes them live for us as we read. If you enjoy a good read with a wonderfully evocative setting and a really vivid portrait of an era, then you’ll absolutely love this book. Buy yourself a copy here The Kindle edition really is going for a song!

 

Doesn’t it look amazing in my #OnTheShelfie – thanks so much to Olly & Sam for sending me some of the cutest Book Post I’ve ever had 

 

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 Writer On The Shelf

Marianne Holmes was born in Cyprus to RAF parents and bounced between the UK, Germany, Kuwait and Belgium until firmly basing herself in London – well, apart from those years in the Peak District. A love of language led to degrees in Classics and Linguistics from the University of London but her desire to pay the mortgage steered her to a career in Marketing. After distracting herself in all sorts of ways over the years – sailing, flying, volunteering and running away to India – she is now definitely, absolutely concentrating on her writing. Well, that and making sure her children get fed, clothed and entertained. Obviously. A Little Bird Told Me is Marianne’s first novel.

 

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The Anniversary Blog Tour

From the bestselling author of Thursdays in the Park comes a deeply moving novel which asks if you can fall in love with the same person twice….

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Stella’s marriage ended decades ago, after a tragedy that not only shattered her life with her husband but shaped her whole relationship with her daughter, too.

Now, despite the tensions that linger between Stella and Eve, Stella is called upon to look after her daughter in her time of need. She just hadn’t bargained on being brought back into her handsome, stubborn ex-husband’s life too, or that she would find common ground with Jack in their shared adoration for their little grandson.

Just as the pain of the past once tore them apart, now the joys of grandparenthood are bringing Stella and Jack back together. But each of them has a new partner and new lives.

Should they fight temptation? Should the past remain the past? Or are some loves simply meant to be?

This is the kind of book that you’ll think about long after you close the final page. I loved Thursdays in the Park and was really looking forward to seeing what Hilary Boyd did next – and let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. I read this almost in one sitting over the last few rainy September days and it was the perfect companion for a pyjama day where I could totally lose myself in a great story with characters I could really believe in. Like all the best stories, I feel like Hilary Boyd drops us into a world where we could imagine the characters as people that we actually know, in situations we could really relate to and this is definitely why I found it so engrossing to read.

This book makes you think hard about your life choices as you see characters having to live with the ramifications of their earlier decisions many decades later.  I loved the fact that we see them both young and old and it made me think about the fact that we are changed both by our choices and our chances in life. The fact that Jack and Stella are no spring chickens added a unique twist to this books as we are far too used to seeing books about relationships focus on the first bloom of love in novels that we read. Stella and Jack’s relationship proves the old adage that the course of true love never did run smooth and even when you really love someone staying with them might not always be the best choice you could make.  It’s only now that their daughter Eve is pregnant, that Jack and Stella see each other again and realise that they might have taken a different pathway.

This book shows that love is indeed without age and that you are never too old to yearn for a happy ending. It does not shy away from the idea that actual relationships are hard work and in that, it certainly portrays a more realistic idea of love than the one we see in many contemporary presentations of romance and relationships in fiction – which was an aspect of this novel that  I really enjoyed. Even though this is Stella’s tale to tell, I loved the fact that we travel back in time to an earlier incarnation of Jack and Stella and we get a real sense of the way that their relationship has unfolded due to the way that the novel leads us through their time together towards the present day situation, making us think hard about how this happened and other ways that their love story might have unfolded.

Even though Jack and Stella had other relationships in the present day, the way that this narrative unfolded really made you see their life-long story and feel so invested in it. I don’t give spoilers, so all I’m going to say is that this is an emotional read and lots of people might actually find themselves in tears at some points due to the sensitive and realistic way that Hilary Boys gives us an insight into her characters hopes, fears and barriers in this compelling novel.
#BookReview of The Anniversary by Hilary Boyd @HilaryBoyd @Tr4cyF3nt0n @JennyPlatt90 @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks

 

 

I loved The Anniversary, and I’m recommending it to lots of people as I think that there is something in it that will appeal to people at many different stages of their own relationships. The way that Jack and Stella’s loves are laid bare in front of us will have you thinking more deeply about your own families and wondering about the way that our decisions can have the most unexpected repercussions years and years down the line. You’ll absolutely love the story of Stella and Jack and I dare you to read it without wanting to give someone you love a hug and tell them that you really do care. I can’t wait to see what Hilary Boyd does next as these first two books have both charmed me in their own very unique and original ways of looking at the way people live and love and asking us to think about our responses to their stories. Check it out for yourself by clicking the link below…

Thanks so much to Jenny Platt for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. The Anniversary was published on the 20th September.

You can buy yourself a copy here: The Anniversary

 

 

Writer On The Shelf

Hilary Boyd

Hilary Boyd was a nurse, marriage counsellor and ran a small cancer charity before becoming an author. She has written eight books, including Thursdays in the Park, her debut novel which sold over half a million copies and was an international bestseller. The film rights have been acquired by Charles Dance, who will be directing and starring.

Narcissm For Beginners – Blog Tour

 

Narcissism For Beginners Cover.jpgLonglisted for the 2017 Guardian Not the Booker Prize

Meet Sonny Anderson as he tips headlong into adulthood. Sonny doesn’t remember his mother’s face; he was kidnapped at age five by his father, Guru Bim, and taken to live in a commune in Brazil. Since the age of ten, Sonny has lived in Redondo Beach, California, with his guardian Thomas Hardiker. Brits think he’s an American, Americans think he’s a Brit.

When he turns 21, Sonny musters the courage to travel alone to the UK in an attempt to leave a troubled past behind, reunite with his mother and finally learn the truth about his childhood. With a list of people to visit, a whole lot of attitude and five mysterious letters from his guardian, Sonny sets out to learn the truth. But is it a truth he wants to hear?

Narcissism for Beginners is a fresh, witty and humane take on the struggle to make sense of growing up.

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You know when you see a Book jacket and just KNOW that it’s going to be your kind of book? Well Narcissism For Beginners was exactly that for me.

I love original and quirky reads and I was desperate to get started with this book where Sonny uncovers his past as soon as it came through my letterbox.

I often avoid books thst other people label as “quirky”  as this can often mean that they are jarring and hard to pigeonhole, but Narcissm For Beginners belongs in a category all of its own as it is so original and appealing.

Sonny is a fantastic creation and he definitely springs to life off the page. It’s safe to say that he’s had a pretty unique upbringing – between his unorthodox father, millionaire guardian  and early years in the Brazilian commune – but all that aside, as a reader I really believed in him. He’s got to be met on the page to really understand what a unique character he is!

The fact that’s he does not feel that he really belongs anywhere was a fascinating one and I think this could be very thought provoking if you have a book group as Sonny’s quest to understand who exactly he is will be something many people can relate to, even though their childhood might be a lot more sedate than Sonny’s very colourful one…

Sonny’s journey around Britain – including to my beloved Scotland-  is both a literal and metaphorical one as he has many things to deal with on his quest. At  21 years old, he has so many questions and his navigation of a new country and a new understanding of himself makes for compelling reading. I think this novel will appeal to people who enjoy a story where you’re never very sure what might happen next, but you’re happy to see where the writer takes you. I felt safe in Martine McDonagh’s hands and wanted very much to see where Sonny’s ‘Voyage of Discovery’ would take us.

Th device of the five Letters was an inspired one as it really gave Sonny’s journey a structure and with each new discovery, we start to see a different facet of Sonny and understand more about his very unique and often unbelievably complex background. I loved The Goldfinch as a novel and the sense of exploration and discovery in this novel reminded me of it at times. I read this on a sunny weekend in beautiful Perthshire and it made me think about Sonny’s travels in such an unfamiliar environment and how feeling like we belong somewhere is such an important thing to us as human beings.

IMG_4479.JPGSometimes, getting away with the ones you love, a gorgeous pup and a blooming good read is just good for the soul! Treat yourself to a copy here

WRITER ON THE SHELF

 

Martine McDonagh was an artist manager in the music industry for 30 years and now leads the Creative Writing & Publishing MA at West Dean College, Sussex. This is her third novel, following I Have Waited, and You Have Come and After Phoenix.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for nviting me on this Unbound blog tour. I will definitely be recommending it to some of my young readers at school who like something a little left field to read as I know they’re going to love it.

 

 

Full Metal Cardigan Blog Tour

“Whilst I continued to spend my days buffing up the bones of the dead, I knew in my heart I wanted to work with the living.”

 

Full Metal Cardigan is David Emery’s first book and chronicles his adventures in social care, from enthusiastic volunteer to feral frontline worker, taking in abusive popstars, chanting cults, drug runs and assessing a corpse.

He recounts how he gained international notoriety for cheating in a pancake race, encounters with the supernatural, High Court appearances, accidentally booking someone into Dignitas, one-inch death punches in Woolworths, waterboarding, psychotic psychopaths, plunger-wielding pregnant women and suicide attempts with rhubarb along the way.

This is a humorous look at life as a social worker: in turns both laugh-out-loud funny and mind-boggling.

This book is one of the reasons that I love being a blogger. If it wasn’t for meeting the lovely Kelly, I would NEVER have picked up this book.  And I would seriously have missed out because I bloody loved it! It’s the kind of book you think that all the best bits will be in the blurb and you’ll know everything that’s going to unfold after reading the summary above – but in terms of laughing at mad and improbable situations, the incidents described above are literally just the tip of the iceberg.

‘Full Metal Jacket’ is one of my favourite war movies and as a public sector worker myself, I’d never have thought of it as having any parallels with the work I do. But David Emery has definitely proved this idea wrong as he shows in this book that having courage ‘under fire’, never quitting and finding strength and comradeship in your very own ‘Band of Brothers’ is something that we might find we have more in common with than we previously anticipated.

Although this book is full of drama and some truly nail-biting situations, you never get the feeling that David feels negatively about his ‘trade’ – it’s more like he thrives upon the absolutely bizarre situations that he regularly finds himself in – and becomes quite the expert at seeing the silver lining in every  – mildly traumatic – cloud…

It’s good to read a book where professions like teaching and social work are positively framed and there is a real sense of the vocation that some people have for this kind of work. There is literally never a dull moment when you are working with the general public and this book displays them before your very eyes in glorious technicolour

It’s a real skill to take something as complex, challenging and difficult as social work and make it as readable as this. It’s not to say that there aren’t emotional and difficult parts to this engrossing read, it’s just that he lets us see all of the faces of the job, instead of dwelling on just the hilarious times or merely concentrating on the moments where everything seems insurmountable and too difficult to go on with.

My best friend is a senior social worker and a former pupil has just qualified as one – and I’ll definitely be buying them both a copy. I would recommend this book to people with a keen interest in human nature and readers who love something unexpected, touching and totally heartfelt. This book really lets you into this world and shows you that humanity is a broad church – but there’s much more good than bad in it.

Full Metal Cardigan: Adventures on the Frontline of Social Work by [Emery, David]

Thanks so much to Kelly and Fledgeling Press for inviting me on the tour. It has reminded me of my passion for hidden gems and lost treasures – and for me, that’s what book blogging is all about.

Treat yourself to a copy here

Writer On The Shelf

Born in Bury, Manchester, David grew up with his parents, sisters and a revolving cast of characters that his mum would bring home from the local secure psychiatric hospital where she worked.

After finishing college, he went into archaeology until it became clear that he was more suited to working with the living than the dead.

A voluntary job supporting vulnerable young people confirmed this and encouraged him to find paid work in various residential and nursing homes. From this he trained to be a social worker and has gone on to work in all areas of the profession; from children to older age, on the front line and as a manager.

David lives in the countryside with his wife and children where he spends his days working for the NHS and his evenings writing in the shed. Full Metal Cardigan is his first book.

The False Men- Mhairead MacLeod Q & A

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“North Uist, Outer Hebrides, 1848

Jess MacKay has led a privileged life as the daughter of a local landowner, sheltered from the harsher aspects of life. Courted by the eligible Patrick Cooper, the Laird’s new commissioner, Jess’s future is mapped out, until Lachlan Macdonald arrives on North Uist, amid rumours of forced evictions on islands just to the south.

As the uncompromising brutality of the Clearances reaches the islands, and Jess sees her friends ripped from their homes, she must decide where her heart, and her loyalties, truly lie.

Set against the evocative backdrop of the Hebrides and inspired by a true story, The False Men is a compelling tale of love in a turbulent past that resonates with the upheavals of the modern world.”

It’s fantastic to be participating in the blog tour for The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod. I’d like to thank Kelly Lacey at #LoveBooksGroupTours for inviting me on the tour and to Mhairead for her detailed and really fascinating replies to my questions

As a Scottish blogger with a Scottish History teacher for a husband,  I was intrigued to see the way that the Highland Clearances would be portrayed and how this dreadful time in history would be portrayed. I was delighted to be invited to do a Q & A as it was great to be able to go ‘behind the scenes’ with Mhairead and see what was behind the creative process in writing this historical novel with strong connections to real events.

What is your first memory of a piece of writing that made you feel proud? How old were you and do you still have it?

When I was eleven I won a national essay competition. All I can remember is that it was about a golden eagle, and I was more surprised than proud! I didn’t keep a copy, sure it wouldn’t win.

I grew up in a magical house in Scotland. It was very old with a large garden. I’d spend hours exploring, looking for secret passageways in the thick walls. It was then I fell for history and historical fiction.

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Your book, The False Men mixes the real events and a fictional narrative very skilfully – did you discover anything in your research that really surprised you and which aspects did you find most difficult to bring to life…

One of the joys of writing historical fiction is that it involves a process of discovery. Past lives fascinate me, especially where there is reflection in the present. Initially I was drawn to this particular story by the bravery of the young woman who my protagonist is based upon—and her love story. But while researching for it I was confronted by the horrific events of the Highland Clearances. The Clearances decimated the area I’ve written about, and this was only one of many communities in Scotland affected. These Clearances were undertaken brutally, and in writing the relevant scenes I wanted to respect the memory of those people. It’s clear from reading newspaper and government reports of the time that they handled their situation with dignity and resilience.

I still feel great sadness when I see abandoned crofts in an empty landscape. On the west coast, there’s one that used to belong to my ancestors.

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As a Scottish blogger, do you have a favourite Scottish writer or novel and what is it about them that makes you love them?

It started with Sir Walter Scott—I was intrigued by the Scottish romantic adventure—but there are so many wonderful modern Scottish writers now, it’s hard to choose. Aside from the realistic precision of Ian Rankin and Val McDermid’s crime novels, I’m drawn to novels set in an enigmatic time, such as The Sea Road by Margaret Elphinstone, and those that combine history with social questions, such as Joseph Knight by James Robertson. I think it’s wonderful that Robin Robertson’s book of poetry was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

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Which book -from any country or decade- do you wish that you’d written and why?

I wish I’d written To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Her story-telling style cuts to the heart. And I love Ian McEwan’s Atonement—the way he tells the historical story from the point of view of three different characters and every page is filled with insights and vivid language.Image result for atonement book

Your book is very poetic in places, do you read a lot of poetry and which poets would you say have inspired you as a writer?

Although I’ve had some poetry published, I wouldn’t consider myself a poet at all. I really woke up to poetry in my first year at university—I was drawn to the Romantic poets, such as Keats and Shelley, and later the imagery of Yeats’ work. I love the flow, beauty and power of lyrical writing.

Also, I’m married to an Australian poet who I think is very good (all bias aside!).

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Where do you write and do you have a regular writing routine?

I have a small writing room and my desk is so packed with the piles of books and articles I’m accessing for research, I have to push them aside as I add more. The windows look out onto greenery, but because my eyes are focused on the screen, I rarely have time to take in the fairly wild garden. I’m reminded to do better (and to watch my grammar) by a little badge which lies beside my laptop. It says, hopefully, i write good.

I try to write something most days, even if it’s just 100 words or so. When I was working full-time I’d get up at 5am and write as much as I could before work. At night, my brain was too tired to do any more, but stories and ideas were constantly circulating. If I get stuck for ideas, I’ll go for a walk or do something banal, like housework or cooking where I can think and try to resolve plot and character problems. And since I stopped lawyering full-time, I have a busy routine which involves learning ballet, singing in a choir and going to drawing classes.

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What’s your next writing project and can you tell us a little bit about what to expect – will it have any parallels with The False Men – for those of us that loved it?

I’ve recently finished a draft of a novel set in the tropical frontier of Australia in the 1920s. It centres on a young Scottish woman who’s had to leave Scotland to escape the consequences of something she’s done and now has to keep secret. She becomes a nurse with the goal of establishing the first private hospital in the region. It’s a different time period and scenario to The False Men, but the challenges facing the protagonist are just as problematic. So again there is an Australian-Scottish connection and the protagonist is inspired by an actual person.

I’m currently working on a time-slip novel set in both current-day Australia and early medieval Scotland. I’ll be back in Scotland next year to do some more research, which I’m very excited about.

 

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Writer On The Shelf

M MacLeod author photo

Mhairead MacLeod was born in Inverness, Scotland and spent her early childhood on the Isle of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

She now lives in Brisbane, Australia where she worked as an ethics lawyer, investigator and university lecturer. She holds Masters degrees in both Law and in Creative Writing.

An earlier draft of The False Men was short-listed for a HarperCollins Varuna Award for Manuscript Development and also won a Hachette Manuscript Development Award.

Mhairead’s Website: https://www.mhaireadmacleod.com

Facebook: Mhairead MacLeod

Twitter: @MacleodMhairead

Instagram: @mhairead_macleod_author

How to Find Love in the Little Things

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‘Welcome to Ocean View. You don’t know it yet, but you’ll be happy here…’

Julia’s not running away. Not exactly. She just needs a break from Paris and Marc and all the sad stuff that’s been going on lately. A little time to pull herself together.

The job offer felt like a lifeline. But now she’s back in Biarritz, suitcase in hand, she hasn’t the faintest idea what she was thinking.

What Julia doesn’t yet know is there’s more to the odds and ends of Ocean View than meet the eye. Behind the double doors lie broken hearts, lifelong secrets, a touch of romance and an unwavering passion for life. And sometimes it’s the most unlikely of places and people who help you find your way.

I was delighted to be invited onto the #LittleThings blog tour.  Or as they say in French ‘ enchanté’  Merci mille fois to Anne Cater from #RandomThingsTours for the blog tour invite.  J’aime this book!

 

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One of the things that made me so excited to read ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’ was the absolutely gorgeous cover and publicity materials. It was so summery and cute that I started reading it right away as soon as it came through my letterbox and I was soon caught up in this cute and quirky story – I love this French pic too, it made me want to run through a sunflower field!

Julia was a great character and I really identified with her. It’s easy at times to think that we can be pragmatic in matters of the heart rather than embrace how we are really feeling about things. The fact that she has a background in psychology puts an interesting spin on this and maybe it’s true what they say – that sometimes the cobblers’ children are often the worst shod! it’s true I think that sometimes the people who are good at figuring out other people can sometimes be the least effective at showing insight into their own circumstances and Julia’s handling of her own grief is at times not quite what she might have prescribed for one of her clients.

Ocean View in beautiful Biarritz is an unforgettable place with lots of characters that will stay in your memory. I think that this setting really was inspired as there is such rich ground in a residential home. Each and every resident has their own tale to tell and because of the variety, I feel like each reader might find someone who chimes with their own experiences or their own loved ones. It challenges the idea that once you are old you cease to be a ‘real person’ as the residents here are still very much ‘alive & kicking’ I defy you not to fall for these characters and even though they are French rather than Scottish, I definitely saw lots that reminded me of going to spend time with my own beloved Nana when she was looked after in our local residential home thirty years ago.

Grimaldi is fantastically skilful at creating characters that we care about in funny, witty and memorable situations. She transports the reader to Biarritz and makes us feel part of life at Ocean View and with Julia on her journey towards understanding and hope for her future. I fell in love with this lovely novel – it was just what I needed after being immersed in True Crime and more bloody reads and I relaxed into it in a warm bath and found it very difficult to tear myself back to reality such as unloading the washing machine.

I loved my lesson in  ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’ and although this is the first book I’ve read in this genre for a long time, I was enchanted by Virginie Grimaldi and will be recommending it to my friends who like an immersive read that makes you reflect on your own life and count all your blessings whilst enjoying Julia’s tale at the same time.

I was sad to say ‘Bon Voyage’ to Ocean View and am looking forward to seeing what else Virginie Grimaldi writes next! Doesn’t it look Chouette in my #OnTheShelfie

Writer On The Shelf

Virginie Grimaldi grew up in Bordeaux and has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember.
She wrote her first novel aged eight in a green notebook with multiplication tables in the back. It was about love and the sea and featured a thirty-page-long sunset . . .
How to Find Love in the Little Things was first published in France in May 2016 and became an instant bestseller, translated into multiple languages.
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#RandomThingsTours

 

 

 

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The Girl I Used To Be – Blog Tour

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How can you hide your mistakes when you don’t know what they are?

Gemma Brogan needs a break from her life.

A work event looks the ideal chance to get away. And a friendly new client seems like the perfect gentleman when he joins Gemma for an innocent dinner . . .

But the next morning she has no memory of how the night ended and he has vanished into thin air.

Suddenly, Gemma is plunged into a twisted nightmare she can’t control. To protect her future, and her family, she will have to confront shocking secrets from her past – and the truth about the girl she used to be.

Completely gripping and full of page-turning twists, this is the perfect psychological thriller for fans of Erin Kelly’s HE SAID SHE SAID and Laura Marshall’s FRIEND REQUEST.

 

I’m absolutely delighted to be closing the Blog Tour for Mary Torjussen’s new novel The Girl I Used To Be and I absolutely loved the twists and turns of this addictive and well-plotted new slice of Domestic Noir.

The Girl I Used To Be is a totally page-turning read that kept me gripped and glued to the page last week in rainy Aberfeldy.  Gemma is a memorable an sympathetic protagonist and we find ourselves gripped by the nightmarish situation that she ends up inextricably tangled up in. I was happy to be in from the rain, looking out at the gorgeous views from the warmth of our holiday home, totally caught up in this fast-paced and moreish read.

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One of the main reasons that I think we feel so strongly about Gemma’s situation is that she seems like the kind of person we actually might know. Despite the nightmarish situation she ends up in, we never feel like this is improbable or unbelievable. Gemma’s credibility helps make this such a pacy read as we really really want to know what happens to her and how her past decisions will ultimately affect her future. The fact that this is based in an estate agent’s will resonate with lots of true crime lovers as they’re bound to think about the Susie Lamplugh and it really does make you think about the most ordinary encounters we might have in quite a different light at times. Gemma’s client turns out to be a lot more sinister than she initially suspects and this is where the story really starts to get grippy.  Gemma’s inner voice tells us that things are not quite as they seem and I feel like this is a sound reminder to us that we should probably listen to that little niggle in real life as it might be the difference between life and death in some situations.Image result for susie lamplugh

I really enjoyed the way that Gemma was far from being a stereotypical female character, wondering about why men are so crappy or pining over her ex. Gemma has a career and is in a very modern marriage where her partner is the ‘Daddy Daycare’ in the marriage, looking after wee Rory whilst Gemma runs her very successful estate agents. The way that even the most normal of couples have secrets lurking beneath the surface of their marriage and might be very different people than their spouses suspect is a returning theme in domestic noir and I feel like it’s very well-handled here – we immerse ourselves in the facts that emerge and see things start to unravel before our very eyes in a wholly convincing way and I just could NOT put it down! So happy that I was somewhere so tranquil so that I could just keep turning those pages…

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The Girl I Used To Be is a must read for all fans of domestic noir who like to be pulled into a story and held there until the very last page.  I’d like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and introducing me to such a pageturner. I hadn’t read anything else by Mary Torjussen I can’t wait to explore her other books. Grab yourself a copy here and immerse yourself in Gemma’s nightmare collision of past and present for yourself!

I think that it looks gorgeous in my #OnTheShelfie and it’s put me in the mood for some True Crime so I’m off to explore the shelves and see what I can come up with.

 

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Writer On The Shelf

Mary Torjussen grew up in Stoke-on-Trent. There was no television in her family home so books have always been her escape – she spent hours reading and writing stories as a child. Mary has an MA in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University, and worked as a teacher in Liverpool before becoming a full-time writer. She has two adult children and lives on the Wirral, where her debut novel, GONE WITHOUT A TRACE, is set

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Catch up with Mary on Twitter   

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The Girl I Used to Be Cover