Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Literary

Turbulent Wake by Paul E. Hardisty

Today I am delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Turbulent Wake by Paul Hardistry.

A bewitching, powerful and deeply moving story of love, loss and grief. This extraordinary departure from the critically acclaimed thriller writer Paul E Hardisty explores the indelible damage we can do to those closest to us, the tragedy of history repeating itself and ultimately, the power of redemption in a time of change. Paul drew on his own experiences of travelling around the world as an engineer, from the dangerous deserts of Yemen, the oil rigs of Texas, the wild rivers of Africa, to the stunning coral cays of the Caribbean.

Ethan Scofield returns to the place of his birth to bury his father, with whom he had a difficult relationship. Whilst clearing out the old man’s house, he finds a strange manuscript, a collection of vignettes and stories that cover the whole of his father’s turbulent and restless life.

As his own life unravels before him, Ethan works his way through the manuscript, searching for answers to the mysteries that have plagued him since he was a child. What happened to his little brother? Why was his mother taken from him? And why, in the end, when there was no one left for him, did his own father push him away?

There is something rather beautiful about this story. The writing is exquisite. The storytelling unique. Ethan himself a complex and damaged character on the way to making his own set of mistakes, regret already a heavy companion in his young life. Yet where does the seed to these issues lie? Are they in the past or simply part of who we become as life overtakes us? Could his fathers death provide the catalyst to change to move him away from self destruction?

The death of someone closely related to our childhood, such as a parent, can have a profound affect on our lives. Sorting through the debris, the personal effects can be cathartic and painful. Life changing events are rarely without pain and Ethan’s father is something of an enigma to him. After his death he is left with unanswered questions, pain and a sense of abandonment. So he almost doesn’t bother with the manuscript he discovers, unaware that his father was even a writer. Yet something compels him to read what seems to be a series of short stories but on closer inspection a sort of memoir, the most recent written only days before his death. How did they find their way back to the house once he died? Was he trying to leave Ethan a message? And so he reads and through these texts he begins to understand a little more about his father and ultimately himself.

This is a coming of age story for an older generation. A generation who have already begun to make their mistakes but still have time to live and learn. How often are we left with a sense of incompleteness after a loved one dies? Unanswered questions. Missed opportunities. In Turbulent Wake Paul explores the impact we have on the world, both as a whole and on our immediate world. I remember once someone telling me that as an individual, as a single person, it is difficult, almost impossible, to change the world. Me being a natural worrier who was constantly over-thinking the bigger picture not knowing how I could make any difference at all. He reassured me that I couldn’t take on the worlds problems alone. We begin with our own, immediate world and this will filter out into the world as a whole. I think his message being take care of the little things and the big will follow. And yet this also means the opposite will follow too.

Following Ethan as he deals with his father’s death and revelations about his life we gain a sense of the impact his father had on him and the world around him. Yet it’s through the carefully interspersed short stories written by his father that we, and Ethan, begin to understand more about cause and effect. We see how easy it is to not only destroy the ones we love, but in the bigger picture, the world we live in too. Ethan begins to see his fathers worth with compassion and understanding but also his damage too. His was not a blameless life by no means and there was much he came to regret. Seemingly small mistakes that begun a tsunami of unrepairable events that would have a far-reaching effect on those around him.

This book is a stunning, richly woven piece of literature. It is uniquely written, beautiful, heartbreaking and utterly unforgettable. It was one I wanted to saviour and take my time with. There is so much we can learn. We need to take better care of ourselves and our planet. This senseless drive for financial success and status is removing us from what’s really important in life. Our own self-absorption can be our downfall. We need to stop and look around at the world and our lives around us. Learn from the past and saviour what life really has to offer us beneath all the noise. I absolutely love a novel that makes me think and ask questions. Turbulent Wake does this and more. I love that it can be dissected for meaning and metaphor and yet enjoyed simply for the thrill of the storytelling and the skill of the writing.

Read this novel. Devour and yet saviour it. Stand still for a moment and smell the roses. Then think about your world and how you’d like to leave it for the ones you leave behind.

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Many thanks to the fabulous Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and sending me a digital copy.

Turbulent Wake is yet another astounding novel published by the team at Orenda Books.

About the author

Paul E. Hardisty

Canadian Paul E Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners of out Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science AIMS). The first four novels in his Claymore Straker series, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, The Evolution of Fear, Reconciliation for the Dead and Absolution all received great critical acclaim and The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and was a Daily Telegraph Thriller of the Year. Paul is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.

You can follows Paul on Twitter at @Hardisty_Paul.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Guest Post

Tell Me Where You Are by Moira Forsyth

Maybe the worst thing hadn’t happened yet. You couldn’t know the awful things lined up in the future, looming.

The last thing Frances wants is a phone call from Alec, the husband who left her for her sister thirteen years ago. But Susan has disappeared, abandoning Alec and her daughter Kate, a surly teenager with an explosive secret. Reluctantly, Frances is drawn into her sister’s turbulent life.

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Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour the latest novel by Moira Forsyth, Tell Me Where You Are, but also sharing a special guest post from the author herself. But first lets chat a little more about Tell Me Where You Are.  

For thirteen years Frances has raised her two boys alone after her husband, Alec left her for her sister.  For Frances, that’s in the past, she’s moved on and has a full life with her two (now grown) boys, her job as a headteacher and a new man.  Old feelings are reawakened though when Alec calls out of the blue to say that Susan, the sister he left her for, has disappeared. Susan has also left behind her daughter, Kate and he asks for Frances to care for her whilst he tries to find out what happened to Susan.

Family life can be complicated and history can weigh heavy for all involved. Susan is almost like a ghost for most of the book.  We catch glimpses of her through the memory of others and she hovers in the background throughout.  Yet there are many skeletons in the closet of this family and Moira draws them out gradually, with a sensitive hand as you progress through the novel.  As the old saying goes ‘you can’t choose your family’ but you can choose whether to have them in your lives and some things are just too hard to forgive.  Aren’t they?

Tell Me Where You Are is a gentle, family saga that proves that family life can be filled with deceit and heartbreak but also filled with love and hope.

About the author

Moira Forsyth

Moira_Forsyth_Tell_Me_Where_You_AreMoira Forsyth grew up in Aberdeen, lived in England for nearly twenty years, and is now in the Highlands. She is the author of four previous novels and many short stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines. Waiting for Lindsay and David’s Sisters, originally published by Sceptre, are now available as e-books from Sandstone Press, which also published The Treacle Well in 2015.

Guest Post from Moira Forsyth

THE BEST JOB FOR A WRITER by Moira Forsyth

The Orkney based writer Duncan Maclean once told me that the best job he’d ever had was as a caretaker. Not much to do and no creative thought required, so plenty of time to think about writing, and indeed to write. My best job was as a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in a small town. If nobody was born, got married or died, and my minimal paperwork was up to date, I had nothing to do. I wrote a whole novel in the fifteen months I was in that job.

Now I’m an editor, a job many people might imagine is ideal for a writer. Lots of
practice in editing – my own work must be perfect!

I’ve certainly learned a huge amount about writing through editing. I’m much harder on myself as I redraft, refine and polish. Editing is crucial: the best novels are as tight as a good short story – not a word wasted or superfluous.

As a creative writing tutor, as fiction editor for a literary magazine, and since 2002 as
Editorial Director of Sandstone Press, I’ve been assessing, supporting and editing other writers’ work for nearly twenty-five years. It’s only since Sandstone became established and recognised as a literary publisher that I’ve been doing this almost full time, without another ‘day job’ too. The focus of my working life is other people’s writing.

On a daily basis I assess authors’ ideas and the quality of their writing. This makes
you think hard about what constitutes ‘good writing’ or a ‘good novel’. Once we’ve accepted a text, my aim is to help the author make it as excellent as it possibly can be. Close discussion and exchange of edited versions of the novel are particularly helpful for debut authors, but it’s also a process to which I submit my own work when it goes out to my trusted readers and then my editor. I bear this in mind when I speak to any author about changing their work – it’s not easy to have someone else tell you what’s wrong! Editing means keeping an open mind: you can’t just impose your own views, though I’d not be doing my job if I let something go that was weakening a book.

I’m not sorry I have a job in addition to being a writer. Writers who do nothing else
are at risk of losing touch with the kind of life everyone else lives, so that they end up writing about writers – a subject of limited interest. However, I can’t pretend it’s easy to keep going when I’m dealing daily with other people’s work, when there are meetings and emails, book fairs and launches, staff to support and blurbs to write; when there are designers, agents, and many others to communicate with, with whom it’s essential to build good relationships.

If your head is full of someone else’s novel, you can’t write your own. It’s not finding
time to write that’s difficult, it’s having a dreaming space in your mind for the slow, organic growth of characters and narrative. Despite these constraints, I know I have to start thinking about the next one. In that uneasy space between novels, getting anxious about how Tell Me Where You Are will be received, I feel a bit lost.

However committed I am as an editor, having no work of my own on the go means something is missing that is still, after all these years, important and necessary.

http://moiraforsyth.com/
https://twitter.com/moira_forsyth
https://twitter.com/sandstonepress
https://www.facebook.com/moiraforsythauthor/
Link to the book: https://sandstonepress.com/books/tell-me-where-you-are-1

Tell Me Where You Are is published by Sandstone Press on 15 May 2019 at £7.99 in
paperback.

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Blog Tour, Poetry

Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand

Today I’m delighted to return to poetry for today’s stop on the blog tour for Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand.

FIVE WORDS IS ALL IT TAKES TO PROVOKE A CHAIN OF CREATION.

That is what Katya Boirand discovered the first time she asked a friend for five words and then turned them into a poem, using the words and the subject as her inspiration. This spark started a movement, and soon Katya was asking friends and strangers alike for their five words of choice.

Take Me to the Edge is a selection of these poems, sitting alongside a portrait of each subject, in this stunning and joyous celebration of language, connection and art.

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The more poetry I read the more I love it.  There are so many different ways to be creative with it and with Take Me to the Edge Katya Boirand is taking an exciting and inspiring approach.  A idea awakened by rediscovered words in her travel diaries, Katya decided to begin the project of ‘Poetry by Me, Inspired by You’. The premise being to take five words given by ‘inspirers’ – these are people from all over the world who have touched Katya’s life in some way – from which she then creates a poem from.  Each poem is then beautifully displayed in the book alongside a photograph illustrating the giver of words and ‘the poetic world’.

The photographs have been taken by Swedish photographer, Eli Sverlander.  They alone are absolutely stunning and when you sit them alongside Katya’s beautiful poetry a kind of magic happens.  It brings a whole new dimension to reading poetry.  The photographs show you a glimmer of the person who gifted the five words and this along with the poem made me wonder about them and their lives.  This tiny snapshot of their lives was incredibly inspiring.

Poetry is such an exciting art form, as is photography.  Each has the ability to tell a story just as complex and deep as the greatest tome of literature.  By combining both mediums in Take Me to the Edge, Katya and Eli have created a fascinating collection.  I loved dipping in and out of this book.  At the end there is a section on the subjects and their chosen five words and this adds a little extra insight into the creation.  Read the poems through first and then once again after discovering more about the people behind them. See if you then read the poems differently.

I really enjoyed the poems themselves.  They are quick shots of energy, each one stanza long but each creating powerful images like tiny starbursts within your mind. My personal favourites were those inspired by Ian Cameron and Hazel Thompson.  This book will make a wonderful addition to any bookshelf but I shall definitely be adding a copy to the School Library – it will be a great source of inspiration for our students in not only reading poetry but also creating their own.

Hopefully this will be the first of many collections from Katya.  She invites readers to submit their own five words to her via Instagram and it would be lovely to see more of these books including more subjects of all ages and backgrounds.  There is so much beauty in life and this is a wonderful way to capture it.

Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

Take Me to the Edge is published by Unbound on May 16th 2019.

About the author

Katya Boirand

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Katya Boirand is an actress, dancer, writer and poet. She has travelled the world but now has roots in London. Take Me to the Edge is her first poetry collection.

You can follow Katya on Instagram at @poetrybymeinspiredbyyou

You can follow Katya on Twitter at @Katyahazel

 

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Debut, Thriller

Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman

Today I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for Something In The Water  by Catherine Steadman.

The perfect couple. The perfect crime?

“Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?  Wonder no longer. It takes an age. However long you think it takes, double it…”

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough; Mark is a handsome investment banker with a bright future. They seem to have it all, until Mark loses his job and cracks start to appear in their perfect life. But they’re determined to make it work. They book their dream honeymoon and trust that things will work out – after all, they have each other. On the tropical island of Bora Bora, Mark takes Erin scuba diving. Mark is with her – she knows he’ll keep her safe. Everything will be fine. Until they find something in the water…

Erin and Mark decide to keep their discovery a secret – after all, if no one else knows,
who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events which will endanger everything they hold dear.

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I read this book pretty much in one day.  I am not normally a book a day reader but this was completely unputdownable.

We begin near the end.  Something has happened.  Someone has died and it looks pretty darn bad for our protagonist Erin.  Told in first person we see events unfold as she takes us back .  ‘I’m not a bad person. Or maybe I am.  Maybe you should decide.’ she tells us and so it begins.

Erin and Mark are the golden couple.  He a successful banker, she an up and coming documentary film maker, beautiful house and their whole future ahead of them.  A few months before their wedding Mark loses his job.  They’re not worried though, he was looking for a change and he has contacts, there are doors that will open for him.  Aren’t there?  Soon the wedding is done and they are flying to Bora Bora and their dream honeymoon.  They couldn’t be happier.

Everything is blissful but storm clouds are gathering.  They decide to take a diving trip, just the two of them with nothing but blue skies and water that goes on forever. But something lies waiting in the water, something that they decide to keep secret. No-one knows, so surely no harm can come of it and somethings are best left hidden… aren’t they?  Except the secret becomes a dark cloud, unsettling the calm, tranquillity of their new marriage.  Someone knows.

This is a strong, accomplished debut and a thrilling read.  The story arc is wonderful and keeps you guessing right until the last few chapters.  I enjoyed reading through Erin’s eyes. It kept the tension high and she is a fascinating character.  Her current documentary project adds another level of tension as she delves into the lives of three criminals just as they are coming to the end of prison sentences.  It certainly makes you question if a person is truly bad just because they have been convicted of a crime.  The convicts are all fascinating characters, all with very different crimes and with very different ideas for their rehabilitation.  I was constantly questioning where things were going, who knew more than they were letting on and if Erin was or wasn’t herself a bad person.  Things are rarely black and white and for this aspect I think this would make a fantastic book club choice.  There are plenty of ‘what would you do?’ moments that I’m sure could raise some lively debates.

There is already lots of hype surrounding this book.  It was published in hardback last summer and was selected for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club.  It has also been optioned for adaptation by Twentieth Century Fox with Reece Witherspoon producing.  I think this will adapt brilliantly.  I just hope they keep the home location here in the UK rather than moving to America as was done in the movie adaptation of Girl On a Train.

In a nutshell this is a fantastic debut, a thrilling read and one I thoroughly recommend.  Absolute perfect escapism. 

Something In The Water will be published in paperback by Simon & Schuster on May 16th.  It is currently also available on eBook, audiobook and in hardback.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater of RandomThingsTours for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and thanks to her and the lovely people at Simon & Schuster for my review copy.

About the author

Catherine Steadman

0Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End, most recently in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution in 2018. In 2016 she was nominated for Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Oppenheimer. She is best known for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey. She grew up in the New Forest and lives with a small dog and average sized man. Something in the Water is her first novel and her second is due for release in early 2020.

You can follow Catherine on Twitter at @catsteadman

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Thriller

Worst Case Scenario

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the Blog Tour for Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald.

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line. Imprisoned for murdering his wife, Liam Macdowall has published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that has made him an unlikely hero – a poster boy for Men’s Rights Activists. Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences. A heart pounding, relentless and chilling psychological thriller, rich with deliciously dark and unapologetic humour, Worst Case Scenario is also a perceptive, tragic and hugely relevant book by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

Oh. My. God. This book is an absolute whirlwind. I can honestly say that I have never read ANYTHING like it. I love it. I hated it. It sent me on a roller-coaster of emotions so I felt every hot sweat and every moment of despair, hatred and triumph that Mary went through. My god this woman is strong and yet she’s hurtling through a major breakdown as she comes to the end of what I imagine to be one of the most stressful careers going whilst also going through the menopause. There are absolutely no punches pulled in this story and in many ways it’s absolutely magnificent but in some I think I’m scarred for life. Well perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration but it did leave me rather shell-shocked. I’m a great believer that a story should awaken the emotions and my god this one does. There are so many ‘wtf’ moments. It’ll make you laugh too. The ending especially had me in equal parts laughter and shock and I think leaves plenty of options for a return to Mary, the most unique protagonist I have read for a long time.

Worst Case Scenario is available in eBook now and will also be published in paperback on the 16th of May. Believe me, the title is very apt and fits this story perfectly. Absolutely unforgettable.

Thank you to Anne Cater of RandomThingsTours and Orenda Books for inviting me to be a part of this Blog Tour.

Orenda Books – Wow you guys never stop surprising and enthralling me with your publications

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About the author

Helen Fitzgerald

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Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Fiction

Come Back To Me by Daniela Sacerdoti

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the Blog Tour for Come back To Me by Daniela Sacerdoti.

This third enchanting novel set on the windswept Seal Island is about finding love for a second time when hope seems lost.

Three separate lives. Three broken hearts.

Haunted by his wife’s death, Matt arrives on Seal Island determined to be alone and unable to escape his grief.

In the island’s hospital, a young woman named Rose lies in a coma, trapped by the memories of events leading up to her accident.

Grace, the island’s doctor, is at the heart of the community. Only she knows how much she regrets turning down the chance of love and a family years ago.

For these three people hope seems gone.
But life is about to offer an unexpected new beginning…

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This is a wonderfully atmospheric tale about three very different people, each facing events that have left them broken and filled with grief.

Consumed with guilt over the death of his wife, Matthew Shearer moves to Seal Island to heal and rebuild something that resembles living.  He soon begins to find a place for himself within the small group of welcoming locals and escape from his life in London.  Yet as much as he craves the isolation the Island offers he feels alone and desperately misses his wife Mia who was killed there years earlier in a car accident.  When a young woman appears at his door in the middle of the night, disorientated and soaking wet, saying she has a message from Mia, Matthew begins to question his sanity and the depths to which he has sunk into despair.

This is my first visit to Seal Island and indeed my first encounter with Daniela Sacerdoti but I have to say I felt like I was returning to an old friend.  She writes beautifully and has built up an incredibly memorable set of characters and I will definitely look back at her two previous novels set in this harsh but beautifully landscape.  In this, her latest, he weaves the stories of these three characters, each dealing with their own heartbreak and challenges, and brings them together in a haunting tale that is expertly crafted.  I love the imagery and the hint of magic that simmers beneath the surface for you to find.  The Island and it’s small community are a major part of the story and add so much intrigue and atmosphere to events.   I couldn’t help but be enchanted by them.

I enjoyed reading this moving tale ever so much and now that I have fallen in love with Daniela’s writing I very much look forward to reading more of her novels.  Oh, how I love discovering a new author!

Come Back To Me is published by Headline Review and is available now in eBook and a paperback edition will be published in July.

Thank you to the wonderful Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.  I love how diverse the books she offers me are and this is one that I will be thinking of for some time yet.

About the author

Daniela Sacerdoti

1-7Daniela Sacerdoti is a phenomenon. Over one million copies of her novels have been sold in eBook, her debut novel WATCH OVER ME was the 8th bestselling Kindle book of all time in 2015 and she was also ranked as the 11th top-selling Kindle author. Daniela writes beautiful, haunting and bestselling fiction for adults (the Glen Avich series), young adults (the Sarah Midnight trilogy) and children. Her novels have been translated in twelve languages.

Daniela was born and raised in Italy. She studied Classics, then lived in Scotland for fourteen years, where she married and taught in a primary school. Daniela’s children’s book Really Weird Removals.Com was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. She has also written for the BBC. Daniela, her husband and their two sons make their home in a tiny village in the Alps.

To discover more about Daniela and her world, visit www.danielasacerdoti.com.

You can follow Daniela on Facebook at OfficialDanielaSacerdoti

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Blog Tour, Books that adults should read, Fiction, YA, Young Adult Fiction

All We Could Have Been by T.E.Carter

Today I’m thrilled to be talking All We Could Have Been by T.E.Carter as part of the #BlogTour.  T.E.Carter will also be sharing her Top Five Books too… so read on dear reader, read on.

“I have one goal: Survive a full school year – 180 days – hiding behind a new name, new home and new persona.”

Every year, Lexi starts somewhere new and every year she has to leave. All she wants is to disappear, to go somewhere where no one knows about her brother.

But this time things are different. She is making friends and she might even be falling in love. But none of it is real. When they find out who she really is, she will lose everything. She can never run away from the truth and what her brother did.

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Lexi is running from her past.  She craves anonymity, unable to deal with sharing the real her and where she comes from.  With memories of an horrific event that left her both physically and mentally scared, Lexie finds it hard to cope and suffers extreme anxiety.  Starting yet another new school, she knows she is never safe and that once they find out about her they’ll all turn on her and she’ll end up running again.  Yet for the first time in five years she actually feels like she belongs and she begins to trust again.

It’s impossible to run away from a past that won’t stay buried but perhaps this time Lexie is tired of running.  Perhaps this time she has something worth fighting for. What comes next is a story of courage and a fight for survival and acceptance.  Beautiful, compelling and utterly heartbreaking, this is another amazing novel from T.E.Carter.  All We Could Have Been shows that we can’t always control what happens to us but we can learn to accept and cope with it and that I think is an important message.  This is a wonderfully thought-provoking YA novel that covers themes of trauma, self harm, anxiety and OCD.  But more importantly it speaks of survival and learning to live again.

‘But then I think about the good stuff…And it’s all reason to fight for myself, but then…then my brain does what it does, and the world becomes chaos and confusion, and I can’t do it anymore.  I just wish I was doing it right.’

Thank you so much to wonderful Eve at S&S for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and for sharing this amazing book with me.

About the author

T.E. Carter

Top Five Books –

A caveat here: This list could change on any given day, but here are five books I
enjoyed that are on my mind right now!
1. A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin: With Game of Thrones wrapping
up, this series is clearly on my mind. The reason I really love this book is
because it captures everything that the show lacks, and that’s the quiet in-
between moments. I love the show (although I’m saying this with no idea how
Season 8 will play out and I’m a bit wary of how I’ll feel when it’s done), but as
with any adaptation, there are those little character moments that get left off
the screen. There’s an intimacy to the narrative that would be impossible to
translate to screen lest the show be 30 episodes per season, and this book
seems to be the place where the road really split for the characters.

2. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger: I know. It’s about as generic and
cliché as you can get, and Holden’s a pretty divisive character. But when I
was growing up, there wasn’t much out there in terms of YA. You could keep
reading children’s books; you could move to adult writers like Stephen King;
or you could read teen horror like RL Stine and Christopher Pike. While I
actually loved those books, there was nothing in them that reflected back my
own experiences, but when I first read The Catcher in the Rye, I felt like the
world made a bit more sense. My small town felt just a bit bigger; my
experiences and perspectives felt just a bit more “normal;” and my fears felt
just a bit less scary.

3. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton: I’m not sure why this book is on my mind, but
maybe it’s just the changes of the seasons in New England. What I love about
this story, though, is the absolute commitment Wharton has to truth. It’s a
short read, but it’s one of the most devastating stories I’ve ever read. I’m a
really big fan of novels that don’t try to stick a pretty bow on life, and this novel
does the opposite. It’s brutal.

4. Man-Eaters by Chelsea Cain: This comic series isn’t that far along right now,
but it’s amazing. It’s fearless, in-your-face, feminist satire, and I highly
recommend it if that’s your thing!

5. Life is Strange and Before the Storm: Not a book, but I’m cheating. Not only is
the narrative incredible across both games, but Chloe Price is one of my
favorite characters of all time from any medium. I also think it was genius to
put out Life is Strange first; all your actions come to a close only for you to get
Chloe’s story after the fact, and if you saved Arcadia Bay, playing through
Before the Storm is haunting.

T.E. Carter was born and raised in New England. Throughout her career, she has done a lot of things, she has always loved to read and still loves stories in any medium (books, movies, video games, etc.). When she’s not writing, she can generally be found reading classic literature, obsessing over Game of Thrones (100% Team Lannister), playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge-watching baking competitions. She continues to live in New England with her husband and two cats. All We Could Have Been is her second novel for young adults.

@hashtagereads #AllWeCouldHaveBeen

All We Could Have Been by T.E. Carter is out 2nd May (£7.99 Paperback, Simon & Schuster UK)

Author Letter:

Dear Reader,

Thank you for sharing in Lexi’s journey. ALL WE COULD HAVE BEEN stems from several personal experiences and outside influences, but I mostly wanted to think about how much control we have (or should have) over our own narratives. I also thought about how this is even more significant when processing trauma or grief, and Lexi was created from that.

Our world moves so quickly, and while that has a lot of benefits, it also means we have been conditioned to think and react almost immediately. As a result, our personal narratives are often shaped outside of ourselves, crafted from one piece here and there, until a series of stories are united into a cohesive whole. Rarely, though, does that whole reflect the truth of the people we are, instead illustrating the perceptions of the circle of people around us.

Through this novel, I tried to talk about taking back your own narrative. While our pasts do define and shape us to some degree, we are also so much more than external factors that we can’t control. Traumatic experiences can change how we think, and they often limit our ability to believe in our own agency. We all deserve to find and reclaim our own truth, though.

Thank you for reading and for giving Lexi (and readers like Lexi) the power to regain her story.

Regards,

TE Carter

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