I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for Pip Drysdale’s The Sunday Girl.
‘The Girl on the Train’ meets ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ in this chilling tale of love gone horriblywrong …
Any woman who’s ever been involved with a bad, bad man and been dumped will understand what it feels like to be broken, broken-hearted and bent on revenge. Taylor Bishop is hurt, angry and wants to destroy Angus Hollingsworth in the way he destroyed her: ‘Insidiously. Irreparably. Like a puzzle he’d slowly dissembled … stolen a couple of pieces from, and then discarded, knowing that nobody would ever be able to put it back together ever again.’ So Taylor consults The Art of War and makes a plan. Then she takes the next irrevocable step – one that will change her life forever. Things start to spiral out of her control – and The Sunday Girl becomes impossible to put down.
“Some love affairs change you forever. Someone comes into your orbit and swivels you on your axis, like the wind working on a rooftop weather vane. And when they leave, as the wind always does, you are different; you have a new direction. And it’s not always north.”
Intense, thrilling and an utterly gripping novel. There were some times when I could have shaken Taylor, you can see the car crash she is heading towards but she just can’t seem to rein it in. What starts off as a pretty amateur attempt at making Angus pay for the hurt and heartbreak she has caused turns in to a fight that Taylor could never have dreamed of. Twists and turns a plenty but I was rooting for Taylor all the way.
I loved Pip’s technique of telling the story over a number days. We begin on Sunday and Taylor is heartbroken after a break up. But there is more to this tale than a love affair gone wrong; there are secrets, deception and revenge and it all unfolds in a deliciously suspenseful novel. This would make a perfect holiday read and one that you’ll probably read in one sitting.
Pip Drysdale is a writer, actor and musician who grew up in Africa and Australia. At 20 she moved to New York to study acting, worked in indie films and off-off Broadway theatre, started writing songs and made four records. After graduating with a BA in English, Pip moved to London where she dated some interesting men and played shows across Europe. The Sunday Girl is her first novel and she is working on a second. She currently lives in Australia.
Today I am delighted to host the blog tour for Laurie Petrou’s debut novel, Sister of Mine.
TWO SISTERS. ONE FIRE. A SECRET THAT WON’T BURN OUT.
The Grayson sisters are trouble. Everyone in their small town. knows it. But no-one can know of the secret that binds them together. Hattie is the light. Penny is the darkness. Together they have balance.
But one night the balance is toppled. A match struck. A fire is started. A cruel husband is killed. The potential for a new life flickers in the fire’s embers but resentment, guilt and jealousy suffocate like smoke.
Their lives have been engulfed in flames – will they ever be able to put them out?
Stepped in intrigue and suspense, Sister of Mine is a powerhouse debut; a sharp, disquieting thriller written in stunning, elegant prose with a devastating twist. And of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies and Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door will be utterly absorbed by this compulsive novel.
Well this is certainly an engrossing read and a gripping debut from Laurie Petrou who sets the scene with unwavering tension that continues throughout the entire novel. You are constantly just waiting for the truth to be spilled, for some further tragedy to occur and everything to come tumbling down. Our narrator is Penny, abused by her husband and one day she snaps and he dies in a fire. She shares her secret with younger sister Hattie and it’s only through the course of the novel that we find out what really happened that night. Their secret begins to eat a whole in their quiet life. Of course secrets always have a way of being found out and this one might just tear them apart.
To be honest I can’t say I liked either sister very much but I was compelled to follow their story, I knew there was more to the fire that killed Buddy, the abusive husband, and of course there was. The relationship between the sisters is intense, toxic and seems to burn all those who come within reach. Sister of Mineis a well written debut that has a sense of menace running throughout, an eerie tension that pulls you into the story right until the very end.
Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.
LAURIE PETROU has a PhD in Communication and Culture, and is an Associate
Professor at Ryerson’s RTA School of Media in Toronto, where she is also the Director
of the Masters of Media Production program. She has given several TEDx talks on
subjects including gender and rejection. Laurie was the inaugural winner of the Half
the World Global Literati Award in 2016, a prize that honours unpublished work
featuring female protagonists, for her novel Sister of Mine. She now lives in a small
town in Ontario wine country with her husband, a wine maker, and their two sons.
I’m delighted today to be taking part in the blog tour of Nic Stone’s brilliant debut novel Dear Martin.
A debut confronting modern racism in America finally hits the UK
Justyce McAllister, a black scholarship student at an elite private school in Atlanta, is top of his class, captain of the debate team and heading for Yale. But his presumptions are challenged when he is arrested by the police for helping his druck ex-girlfriend late at night. This won’t be his final run-in with the police. The next time someone gets hurt…
“Why try to do right if people will always look at me and assume wrong?”
Despite leaving his rough neighbourhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous (and white) debate partner and Justyce is starting to feel guilty about how he feels.
Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
How far has America come since 1968?
Reading is like a super power. It takes you to places you’ve never been, never seen and allows you to try an infinite amount of lives, explore different characters, worlds and experiences. Stories are the doorway to so many possibilities. Reading a great novel makes you feel, it creates emotion and touches your very soul. That I love.
We are all different and books, I believe, give us the chance to put ourselves in to another’s shoes. To feel their emotions, their hopes, their fears, their highs, their lows. Dear Martin is one such book. Superbly written, powerful, moving and an insight into racial hate and the effect it still has on the world today, this is an incredible book. Eye-opening and unflinching in it’s brutality, I was moved by Justyce and his story. Such an amazing character; he is brave, tough yet fragile and already so close to being broken. Justyce is at odds with the world around him. He is a good kid, smart and popular, yet for some these qualities are eradicated by the colour of his skin. In a world where people are still judged first by their colour, this novel shows that change does come, albeit slowly, but it comes.
The diversity is excellently portrayed. Nic Stone has the ability to look at situations from all angles and we are able to build a picture of how the situations arise and although heart-breaking in parts, it is only a reflection of what is still happening in our world today. Prejudice breeds prejudice. The refusal to accept difference is what keeps conflict alive. That constant lack of understanding and emphathy. We need stories like this to teach, show and inform.
“Jus, I think I hate everything,” she says. “Why can’t we all get along like butterflies?”
He tuckes her hair behind her ear. Tries to shift his focus to the TV, where layer upon layer of monarchs cover the trees in some Mexican forest. While he appreciates her sentiment, Jus wonders if she notices all those butterflies look exactly alike.
This book, like so many that are inspired by real life, has an important message. Having the courage to stay true to ourselves no matter what conflict or predjudice we might be facing is tough. We discover this alongside Justyce and at times he is pushed to his absolute limits, but ultimately it will be his own choices that will make the real difference.
I thoroughly recommend this courageous and thought provoking novel and think it would be an excellent choice for the classroom too. Dear Martin is Nic Stone’s debut novel and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. She is definitely an author to watch.
You can find out more about Nic by visiting her website here. Here is a snippet that I feel sums up our experience as readers perfectly…
It wasn’t until the summer I turned twenty-three and hopped on that plane to Israel that I began to get a real grasp on the role of Story in the human experience. I spent that summer stepping into other people’s shoes. There were the shoes of a Palestinian Christian girl living in the West Bank who wasn’t allowed into Israel Proper without a permit, but faced insane amounts of harassment in her neighborhood because of her family’s chosen faith. There were the shoes of the Israeli soldier who’d been trained to view all Arabs as potential threats, but was so sickened by it he couldn’t wait to get out of the army so he could leave the country. There were the small shoes of the children in the Palestinian refugee camps training to be Martyrs for Allah because they felt it was their call in life. There were the shoes of the orthodox Jewish man whose entire family had been murdered in his home by Palestinian militants while they slept.
As I listened to these stories and made an attempt at empathy—putting myself in their proverbial shoe—my perspectives shifted. Life became less about right and wrong, good and bad, black and white, and more about complexity and nuance, the power of the human being to bring either calm or chaos into the lives of others and the world around them. Storytelling revealed itself as a means of getting people to listen without interrupting. Done well, it engages listeners/readers to the point where they’re completely oblivious to the shifts in worldview taking place as a result of stepping into a different perspective.
The stories I heard over that summer, like my own, were the ones I hadn’t encountered in my Language Arts classes. And they shook me. They changed the way I approach people with beliefs that differ from my own. They changed the way I voice my opinions. In a way, they cleaned the lens through which I view the world.
I discovered that once I put on all those different pairs of shoes, I wanted to share those shoes and their impact with others. I wanted to tell the stories that weren’t being told, the ones featuring diverse characters in non-stereotypical roles, the ones that blurred the line between “right” and “wrong”, the ones that reveal the humanity in those who are underrepresented or misunderstood. Since that summer I turned 23, I’ve reread most of the books that I was unable to connect with as a teen, and I’m happy to report that I quite enjoy them now that I’ve found the shoes for myself. The answer to my identity crisis was simple: I am a storyteller.
Now get those shoes off so I can give you a different pair to try on.
Dear Martin is published in the UK by Simon & Schuster on the 3rd of May 2018.
Thank you to Eve at Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of Dear Martin and inviting me to take part in the blog tour. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time.
Here Liz gives us the heads up on the start of a fantastic, thrilling new Crime series…
The first in the ‘DI Meg Dalton Thriller’ series is an addictive, absolute treat of a read. Meg recently moved forces and is now based in Derbyshire, she is thrown in the deep end when a lawyer is found dead in a cave and a sinister game of cat and mouse is initiated. ‘The Devil’s Dice’ was shortlisted for the 2016 Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award (for unpublished writers), so my expectations were high, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The first few pages set my thoughts fluttering, and throughout this tale a ghostly shadow hovers over the pages. Roz Watkins allows humour to enter at just the right moments, and has created a fabulous main lead. While Meg does have her fair share of problems, and a certain vulnerability too, she really grew on me. As I read, I set my mind free, to delve into the pages, to ponder, to speculate. The Devil’s Dice’ is just so readable, this is a thoroughly modern tale with a teasing strange connection to the past, and a towering cliff hanger of an ending… hopefully there will be many more stories to come.
A SHOCKING DEATH
A lawyer is found dead in a Peak District cave, his face ribboned with scratches.
A SINISTER MESSAGE
Amidst rumours of a local curse, DI Meg Dalton is convinced this is cold-blooded murder. There’s just one catch chiselled into the cave wall above the body is an image of the grim reaper and the dead man’s initials, and it’s been there for over a century.
A DEADLY GAME
As Meg battles to solve the increasingly disturbing case, it’s clear someone knows her secrets. The murderer is playing games with Meg and the dice are loaded
A white-knuckle crime debut introducing DI Meg Dalton, perfect for fans of Broadchurch and Happy Valley
The Devil’s Dice was pubished by HQ an imprint of HarperCollins on the 8th of March 2018
There’s nothing quite like discovering a new author. Here’s Liz’s review for this wonderful debut by Mick Kitson.
Just gorgeous… this is an emotional and quite, quite beautiful read. After a particularly traumatic time at home, 13 year old Sal and her younger sister Peppa escape into the wilds of Scotland. Sal has spent a long time preparing, the wilderness beckons them, can they survive on their own? Sal tells their story, the first chapter is so clever, I started to realise what had been happening, and then a few carefully chosen, yet almost casually thrown away words, sent a shockwave running through me. I could clearly hear Sal’s voice, she is so individual and distinctive, her words entered my mind and expanded, filling my heart. Mick Kitson encourages the Scottish countryside to sing with intensity, while you can hear Sal, you can see and feel the clean and natural space she and Peppa find themselves in. Kindness flows from unexpected places, and love is behind every word shared by Sal, even in the darkness. Simple, beautiful, provocative yet touching, this is an outstanding debut, and a read I will return to again and again. Highly recommended.
This is a story of something like survival.
Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs and a first aid kit from Amazon using stolen credit cards. She read the SAS Survival Handbook and watched loads of YouTube videos.
And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her.
Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things.
Sal was published by Canongate on the 1st of March 2018