Fiction, Thriller/Crime

New Book Review -Finders Keepers -Sabine Durrant -#Blog Tour @hodderbooks @sabinedurrant

About the book

Ailsa Tilson moves with her husband and children to Trinity Fields in search of the
new. New project – a house to renovate. New people – no links to the past. New
friends – especially her next-door neighbour, the lonely Verity, who needs her help.
Verity has lived in Trinity Fields all her life. She’s always resisted change. Her home
and belongings are a shield, a defence to keep the outside world at bay. But something
about the Tilsons piques her interest. Just as her ivy creeps through the shared garden
fence, so Verity will work her way into the Tilson family.
And once they realise how formidable she can be, it might well be too late.

My review

Thank you to Jenny Platt for my invitation to the tour and for my gorgeous copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

The story begins with us being introduced to Verity and Ailsa, something bad has happened and Verity is protecting Ailsa. Verity is telling the story in the first person, she has lived in the house in Trinity fields her whole life,first with her mother and her sister Faith. Her and her sister fall out after the death of her mother. Verity says that she had an unconventional upbringing, but she was bright and goes off to university and when her mother gets ill and her sister says she has had enough of being her mothers carer she has to move back in.

The story moves to more recent times when Ailsa, Tom and their children Melissa, Max and Bea, move next door.

Verity does not have much of a life and she is flattered when she is asked to tutor Max as he is struggling at school with his literacy. The couple find out about Verity’s job and they ask her to help and she enjoys being part of their lives and being needed. She does get angry because Ailsa doesn’t pay her and that Tom invites her around so that he can tackle her about the state of her garden.

I did not know what to think about the characters in this book, none of them are particularly likeable, but some of them made me have empathy for them. Tom is a bully and is not nice to anyone and starts to express his dislike about the state of Verity’s garden. It becomes clear that there is something not right about Verity and when Ailsa pops around the her house unannounced, we start to see another side of her.

At the top of each chapter, there is an item listed as the header and a word this is a link to Verity’s job as an editor for The Oxford English Dictionary but also to something in the chapter. The significance of the item you discover as you progress the book. It is a clever read, quite a slow pace and you get to know the characters really intimately before you find out where the story is going. Which I will not be giving away.

Verity is such a complex character, one minute I felt empathy and sadness for her and the next disbelief and anger. She has so many secrets of her own it is difficult to know when the truth starts and the lies begin.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it kept me on my toes all the way until the end. It is a fantastic read about obsession, loneliness and murder. It is dark and disturbing and so clever, you will need to keep on reading into the night.

5 stars from me !



Sabine Durrant is the author of four psychological thrillers, Under Your Skin,
Remember Me This Way, Lie With Me, a Richard & Judy Bookclub selection and
Sunday Times paperback bestseller, and Take Me In. Her previous novels are
Having It and Eating It and The Great Indoors, and two books for teenage girls,
Cross Your Heart, Connie Pickles and Ooh La La! Connie Pickles. She is a former
features editor of the Guardian and a former literary editor at the Sunday Times,
and her writing has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines.
She lives in south London with her partner and their three children.

Fiction, Romance, Uncategorized

The 12 Christmases of You and Me – Jennifer Joyce -@rararesources @Writer_Jenn ~Blog Tour

The 12 Christmases of You & Me

What if you could go back in time and fix the biggest mistake of your life?

Two years ago, Maisie’s best friend walked out of her life and she hasn’t heard from him since. When she wakes up in 1994, she naturally assumes she’s dreaming. But when she finds herself in the past again the next night and her actions in the dream alter her present-day life, she begins to wonder if she’s somehow hopping back in time. And if she is time-travelling, can she save her friendship with Jonas?

When Maisie is forced to relive Christmases of the past, will she face up to her mistakes, or make them all over again?

The 12 Christmases of You & Me is a magical tale of friendship, first loves, and learning to live in the present.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B086T3LKB7/

US –   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086T3LKB7/

My thoughts

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my invitation to the tour and for my copy of the book via Net Galley.

Maisie has regrets about her life and particularly regarding her best friend Jonas who she has not spoken to for two years. The book begins with a really funny trip to a bridal shop with Maisie and her best friend Lily, ends up with a boozy night in reminiscing over photos of their youth. Maisie goes to sleep and finds herself in the car with her family aged fourteen. Maisie is unsure what is happening but it appears that she is visiting the past as she relives events of her teen hood she starts to make some small changes will this affect the present ?

This book was a blast from the past the community hall Disco’s, first kiss on the dance-floor I had a serious case of deja vu. It is also really funny and it took me right back to my school days and those times of angst. The note passing, the arguments but we never had a teacher like Mr Adamson !

I do love a Christmas book and this one was a real breathe of fresh air with Christmas Carol vibes. I laughed out loud as adult Maisie finds herself back in 1995, and as a trained counsellor she is trying to find some logic in the situation. I loved Maisie’s parents and the sibling arguments over the Christmas sweets really did take me back to my own family Christmases. This is a wonderful warm, escapist read, and is about making the most of the life and valuing family and friends which you don’t always realise the importance of as a teen. The nostalgia of childhood Christmases past, evoked some fond memories for me and added to the pleasure of reading this book.

Author Bio –

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. She’s been scribbling down bits of stories for as long as she can remember, graduating from a pen to a typewriter and then an electronic typewriter. And she felt like the bee’s knees typing on THAT. She now writes her books on a laptop (which has a proper delete button and everything).

Social Media Links –

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenniferjoycewrites

Twitter: www.twitter.com/writer_jenn

Instagram: www.instagram.com/writer_jenn

Fiction, Thriller/Crime

Dangerous to Know -Chloé Esposito- @michaeljbooks @sriya_v @chloejesposito #dangeroustoknow

About the book

The sharp, smart and outrageously funny finale in the Alvie Knightly trilogy

‘Trust us when we say that you won’t ever have encountered a character quite like Alvie Knightly’ HEAT

Once, serial killer Alvie Knightly was living the dream.

Unlimited cash.
An Italian getaway.
A hot new boyfriend . . .

How the mighty fall.

One year – and one very unfortunate incident – later, Alvie is homeless, surviving on meal deals, and counting her dwindling pennies.

It’s time for one last hit, and if anyone can pull it off – in six-inch heels – it’s Alvie.

But if she’s to succeed in her mission to avenge her ex, win back her money and secure her future, she’ll have to face her most terrifying enemy yet . . .

Her past.

My thoughts

Thank you to Sriya at Michael Joseph for my invitation to the tour and for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

I had not encountered Alvie Knightley before I was invited to the tour and so I ended up buying the two previous books in the Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know Trilogy. You could read this as a standalone but you will miss out on Alvie’s previous adventures and how she ends up at the beginning of this book looking for Ed and his Wife Tiff, but first she has to become Siobhan. Alvie is a serial killer and she is clever and uses her wily ways to befriend Tiff so that she can get close to the couple. I found it entertaining and although I don’t usually read this type of book I wanted to keep on reading. When Tiff has a crisis with the baby Alvie sees it as the perfect opportunity to infiltrate their lives.

I liked Alvie’s unpredictability and the very occasional glimpses of her vulnerability. The book uncovers the story behind her family life and the reasons she has become the person she is today. She is brutal, driven woman who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. If you want a very different kind of escapist read then this is for you its fast, fun and ferocious !

About the author

Chloé Esposito is from Cheltenham and now lives in London. She has a BA and MA in English from Oxford University, where her dissertation focused on 19th-century feminist writers. She has been a senior management consultant, an English teacher at two of the UK’s top private schools and a fashion stylist at Condé Nast. She is a graduate of the Faber Academy and is now writing full-time.

Fiction, Romance

One Family Christmas – Bella Osborne -@rararesources @osborne_bella @avonbooksUK

One Family Christmas

A big family. A whole lot of secrets. A Christmas to remember…

This year, Lottie is hosting one last big family Christmas at the home she grew up in – just like her Nana would have wanted.

But when her relatives descend on the old manor house, Lottie gets more than she bargained for. Every family has its secrets, but in this family, everybody has one!

So, between cooking a Christmas dinner, keeping tensions at bay and a stray dog out of mischief, she has plenty on her plate and not just misshapen sausage rolls and a frozen turkey. And then her first love shows up – nine years after he walked out of her life.

Can Lottie make their last family Christmas one to remember… for the right reasons?

My thoughts

Thank you to Rachel at Random Resources for my invitation to the blog tour and my copy of the book via Net Galley.

The book starts with a emotional scene of Lottie making a Christmas Pudding with her beloved Nana, this really resonated with me as this will be my first Christmas without my beloved Nanny, who we lost earlier this year and we used to do baking together when I was child.

Lottie does not really get along with her Mother and she wants to sell the big family home, but Nana wanted to have a big family Christmas at Henbourne Manor so Lottie is determined to carry out her one of her last wishes. This is not going to be easy, with widowed brother Zach and his daughter Jessie, girlfriend Emily, Great Uncle Bernard, her Mother Angie, Auntie Nicola and Uncle Daniel. She manages to persuade them all to come, she is just getting the house ready on Christmas Eve, when she receives two unexpected guests who send the house into more chaos.

Joe the vet, who Lottie was in love with and moved away to America and a stray dog. This is a gorgeous Christmas book, I loved the setting, the characters, especially Duchess the cat. It made me teary, when Lottie goes through Nana’s cookbook. Lottie is such a lovely character and her loyalty to Nana is wonderful and admirable as is her will to bring the family together.

It has humour, tenderness, loss, sadness and warm family Christmas loveliness.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B085XQXDB9/

Universal Amazon link – http://mybook.to/OneFamilyChristmas

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/one-family-christmas

Author Bio – Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. Since then she’s written six best selling romantic comedies and she’s been shortlisted three times for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

For more about Bella, visit her website at http://www.bellaosborne.com or follow her on social media.

Social Media Links –

Twitter – https://twitter.com/osborne_bella

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BellaOsborneAuthor/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bellaosborneauthor/

Uncategorized

#Blog Tour – The Christmas Swap- Sandy Barker – @sandybarker @rararesources #Bookreview

The Christmas Swap

Christmas is coming and best friends ChloeJules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three, and this wonderful festive novel is perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Holly Martin and Karen Swan.

Purchase Links

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-christmas-swap

https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-christmas-swap/id1522992097

https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-christmas-swap,sandy-barker-9780008390044

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-christmas-swap/sandy-barker/9780008390044

My thoughts

Thank you to Rachel at Random Resources for my invitation to the tour for this gorgeous Christmas book.

Three friends from childhood Lucy, Jules and Chloe are all stuck in their lives in their countries of Australia, L.A. and Oxford in England. So when Aussie Chloe finds out that her parents are going away on a cruise for Christmas she rings her best friends for support.

They decide on a plan that will see them swapping places with each other.

Chloe heads to England from L.A and right away is roped into assisting with a Christmas Fair with some quite very straightlaced English ladies, will she be able to win them over ?

When she goes over to Cecily’s she is not prepared for who she answers the door to. Famous actor Archer

When Jules arrives in Melbourne, Australia she finds out that she has left her bag including her passport. She finds out that the ever organised Chloe has arranged for a proper Aussie Christmas with her friends Matt and Ash. Jules is very attracted to winemaker Matt but has Chloe been out with him ?

Lucy swaps for snowy Colorado and immediately has to push herself out of her comfort zone when Will invites her skiing.

She is terrified but she does it anyway to be polite and finds that enjoys herself.

This is a great escapist read and was just what I needed. I enjoyed following the The May Ladies as they change their lives but have a great and warm friendships. I loved how they all end up finding happiness in places they never expected. I also enjoyed the locations and the different Christmases were celebrated.

This is a great read if you are looking for a warm and cosy snuggle up on the sofa with some happy feelgood vibes.

Author Bio –

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://www.instagram.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://sandybarker.com/

Fiction

Love Orange – Natasha Randall -#Book Review ~Buddy Read @natasharandall @riverrunbooks @quercusbooks


About the book

An extraordinary debut novel by Natasha Randall, exposing the seam of secrets within an American family, from beneath the plastic surfaces of their new ‘smart’ home. Love Orange charts the gentle absurdities of their lives, and the devastating consequences of casual choices.

While Hank struggles with his lack of professional success, his wife Jenny, feeling stuck and beset by an urge to do good, becomes ensnared in a dangerous correspondence with a prison inmate called John. Letter by letter, John pinches Jenny awake from the “marshmallow numbness” of her life. The children, meanwhile, unwittingly disturb the foundations of their home life with forays into the dark net and strange geological experiments. 

Jenny’s bid for freedom takes a sour turn when she becomes the go-between for John and his wife, and develops an unnatural obsession for the orange glue that seals his letters…

Love Orange throws open the blinds of American life, showing a family facing up to the modern age, from the ascendancy of technology, the predicaments of masculinity, the pathologising of children, the epidemic of opioid addiction and the tyranny of the WhatsApp Gods. The first novel by the acclaimed translator is a comic cocktail, an exuberant skewering of contemporary anxieties and prejudices.

Publisher: Quercus Publishing 
ISBN: 9781529413427 
Number of pages: 368 
Dimensions: 240 x 156 mm

My thoughts

Thank you to River Run for my invitation to the buddy read and for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

I really had no idea what to expect when I started this book but I was soon engrossed in the world of the Tinkley’s. Poor Jenny is really unhappy with her lot, overwhelmed by motherhood, unsupported by her husband Hank and his family, she feels like she is drowning. She starts to correspond with a prisoner John and soon she finds that she is sharing her personal thoughts with him. He discloses that he has a wife Shona who is also in Jail and soon Jenny is corresponding with them both. Shona wants nothing to do with Jenny as she is soon to be released from Jail. John seals his letters with an orange glue and Jenny is consumed by the need to find out what it is.

Her husband Hank is a real piece of work, I really cannot remember the last time I disliked a character quite so much. I loved chatting about Hank in the buddy read as he evoked so many opinions and feelings about the way he acts and treats Jenny and the boys.

He obviously has issues himself but instead of learning from these for his boys he seems obsessed with passing them on to them too. The family is immersed in the Smart House that Hank has made and Jesse is a typical teenage boy obsessed with gaming and dear Luke who really does get a raw deal from Hank because he is different but highly intelligent and sensitive. Hank is desperate to find out why this is the case and involves a therapist.

As the book progresses we find out more and more about the Tinkley’s and felt a real despair for Jenny and I can totally see how she ends up where she does but I am not giving any spoilers.

This is a really great book I loved it, the strong characters in the book makes the read all the more involved. This is a fantastic debut novel and I loved chatting to Natasha and the other members of the the buddy read about the book.

A solid 5 Oranges from me !!

About the Author

Natasha Randall is a literary translator whose translations include Notes from an Underground by Dostoyevsky, A Hero of Our Time by Lermontov, and We by Zamyatin. She has edited a volume of Gogol for River Run, Quercus. Her articles and reviews have appeared in the TLSLA Review and the NYT. She lives in London with her husband and young children.

Fiction, Thriller/Crime

Blog Tour – The Peacock Room – Anna Sayburn Lane @randomttours @bloomsburyblue #Bookreview

About the book

Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Peacock-Room-Helen-Oddfellow-mystery/dp/1916420826

A literary obsession.

An angry young man with a gun.

And one woman trying to foil his deadly plan.

When Helen Oddfellow starts work as a lecturer in English literature, she’s hoping for a quiet life. But trouble knows where to find her.

There’s something wrong with her new students. Their unhappiness seems to be linked to their flamboyant former tutor, Professor Petrarch Greenwood, who holds decadent parties in his beautiful Bloomsbury apartment.

When Helen is asked to take over his course on the Romantic poet William Blake, life and art start to show uncomfortable parallels. Disturbing poison pen letters lead down dark paths, until Helen is the only person standing between a lone gunman and a massacre.

THE PEACOCK ROOM is the intriguing follow-up to the acclaimed thriller UNLAWFUL THINGS, which introduced the literary sleuth Helen Oddfellow.

My thoughts

Thank you to Anne Cater for my invitation to the tour and to the author for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

The story begins with Helen who has recently started a job as a lecturer at Russell University in English Literature, she is looking for a calmer time after the trauma of the previous months. This is the second book in the Helen Oddfellow Mysteries but can be read as a standalone novel.

Nick is a journalist and he is a friend of Helen and he is pleased to see her again, he is now working doing the social media correspondent but when he finds a blog on The Dark Web after doing some research and he tells Helen that one of her colleagues Professor Petrarch Greenwood has written work about Blake’s mythology. The blog is sinister and Nick wants to find out more.

Helen is called in by the Head of English Professor Caroline Winter and when she is there she finds out that the University has received death threats about a women’s writing conference it is holding. She is asked to take over Greenwood’s first-year poetry course as he is having some time off and she finds out it is not for the reason that she has been told.

Helen has to do some work quickly so that she can teach the class and asks her close friend and Blake enthusiast Barbara to help her and she explains that there is mystery surrounding Blake’s wife Catherine.

This is fascinating book and I really enjoyed the connection with English Literature and the Romantic poets. I have not ever studied Blake but this one of those books that made me start to research him further. It is a well written novel and I liked the style of the writing, it is one to savour as there is a lot of information to take in. The characters are great with a strong female presence and a really exciting climax.

About the author

Anna Sayburn Lane is a novelist, short story writer and storyteller, inspired by the history and contemporary life of London. Unlawful Things is her first novel.
She has published award-winning short stories in a number of magazines, including Mslexia, Scribble and One Eye Grey.
Her Mslexia award-winning story Conservation was described by judge and Booker-longlisted author Alison MacLeod as “a powerful and profound contemporary piece in which one man’s story stands for an entire nation’s… it’s a punch to the heart, a story that will haunt and touch its readers deeply”.
She has told stories at London club The Story Party and One Eye Grey’s Halloween event, Moon Over the Lido.

Twitter: @BloomsburyBlue

Website: http://www.annasayburnlane.com/

Author Page on Facebook

Fiction, Thriller/Crime

The Pact- Dawn Goodwin – @VickyJoss1 @Hoz_Books @DGoodwinAuthor #BlogTour #

About the book

I’ll kill yours, if you kill mine.

Maddie’s life has come crashing down around her. Her husband has left her and moved on with a new woman and baby. No longer can she run from the past that’s been haunting her. The past has destroyed her future.

In a new flat, trying to start a new life, Maddie meets Jade and her young son, Ben. All too swiftly Maddie finds the dark thoughts whirring through her brain. But Jade’s different, she loves Ben, doesn’t she?

As the two women begin to open up about their exes over a few glasses of wine, Jade conjures a plan, a pact. She’ll kill Maddie’s if Maddie kills hers. Laughing it off, Maddie returns to her normal life. But what if it wasn’t a joke at all…

My thoughts

Thank you to Vicky Joss for my invitation to the blog tour and for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

The story begins with Maddie moving into her new flat and Greg is helping her. Her first night is an eventful and the next day she gets up and goes to the park there she meets her neighbour Jade and her little boy Ben. Jade is a stressed single parent and Maddie is depressed. Greg her estranged husband is now living with Gemma and their daughter but he is still in touch with Maddie and sends her flowers and texts regularly. Jade invites Maddie up to her flat for a drink and Maddie is only too happy to be invite, their make a pact in their drunkenness. Maddie thinks it is all a bit of a joke but Jade is not joking.

This is fast paced read and I quickly became engrossed in the story, although I didn’t take to any of the characters. I felt sorry for Maddie but I wanted to shout at her many time in the book as she can be so gullible and trusting. The story has sadness and regret and Maddie makes so many bad choices but I think Jade gives her some confidence. I didn’t like the hold that Greg still had over Maddie. It is a twisty tale and kept me guessing until the end.

About the Author

Dawn’s career has spanned PR, advertising and publishing. Now, she loves to write about the personalities hiding behind the masks, whether beautiful or ugly. Married, she lives in London with her two daughters and a British bulldog called Geoffrey.

Follow Dawn:

Website: www.dawngoodwin.com

Twitter: @DGoodwinAuthor

Facebook: @DGoodwinAuthor

Instagram: dgoodwinauthor

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3kVKFz9

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3aEF3Vd

Google Play: https://bit.ly/34csS0S

iBooks: https://apple.co/2Y9IC0Q

Follow Aria:

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

Uncategorized

My Sister the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite #book review #audiobook @atlanticbooks

A short, darkly funny, hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead.

Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.

My thoughts

The book begins with Ayoola calling her sister Korede who is the narrator in the story. Ayoola has stabbed her boyfriend Femi and she calls Korede to help him.

When Korede arrives there is no saving to be done, just a clean up operation which she does swiftly and expertly. The pair take Femi to his watery grave and Ayoola returns to her normal life and Korede to her job at the hospital as a nurse.

Korede is full of guilt and she offloads her secrets to a Muhtar, a coma patient in the hospital. She has been in love secretly with Tade, a Doctor that she works with and hopes they will get together. One day Ayoola drops into see Korede at work and Tade is there and like most men who meet Ayoola, Tade is smitten. Korede is angry and jealous and also worried as Ayoola’s track record with boyfriends who are still alive is not good. Will Tade be the one for her ?

As things with Ayoola and Tade become more serious. Korede finds herself taking drastic action.

I listened to this book via audible and I loved the narration, the pace and the story. It is funny and the narrator is excellent at setting the scene and telling this intriguing story. I absolutely loved this unique story of sibling love. Korede has been the protector of her sister since they were children and she sees this as her job as they have lived with an abusive father and a mother who could not protect them.

This is a really great book, it is unlike anything I have read before it is dark, clever and very, very gripping.

About the Author

Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Kingston University in Creative Writing and Law. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo Limited, a Nigerian publishing house, and as a production manager at Ajapaworld, a children’s educational and entertainment company. She now works as a freelance writer and editor. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top-ten spoken-word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam, and in 2016 she was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria

Fiction

#Blogtour-This Green and Pleasant Land -Ayisha Malik @zaffrebooks @tr4cyF3nt0n @ayisha_malik #Thisgreenandpleasantland

About the book
On her deathbed, Bilal’s mother reaches for his hand. Instead of whispering her final prayers, she gives him a task: build a mosque in his country village. Mariam is horrified by Bilal’s plan. His friends and neighbours are unnerved. As outrage sweeps Babbel’s End, battle lines are drawn. His mother’s dying wish reveals deeper divisions in their village than Bilal had ever imagined. Soon Bilal is forced to choose between community and identity, between faith and friendship, between honouring his beloved mother’s last wish and preserving what is held dear in the place that he calls home. 
My thoughts
Thank you to Tracy Fenton for my invitation to the tour and to Zaffre for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review. The book begins sadly with the death of Bilal’s mother Sakeena, he has a lot of guilt around her death as he felt that he had been, some what of an absence son. She dies at a relatively young age and she asks him to promise that he will build a Mosque in the little village of Babbel’s End, a suburb of Birmingham where Bilal and his wife Miriam have lived in the the village for eight years. Bilal had embraced life in the village even with it’s prejudices.
Bilal then finds out that his Aunt (Khala) Rukhasana has had a fall and needs looking after, when Miriam suggests that she should stay with them he is apprehensive. Khala is very reclusive and has lived in Birmingham since coming from Pakistan many years before and she. Before she died Sakeena dug a grave in the garden where she lived that she lay in and when he goes to collect Khala he visits the grave. Bilal is a kind man although he has regrets and he brings Khala to Babbel’s end and she is scared by how open and big it feels compared to her little flat in Birmingham.
Miriam, however is anxious as her ex husband is back in the country and he wants to see more of his Son Haaris. Then Bilal starts digging a hole in the garden in the middle of the night and her anxiety increases further. Reverend Richard has also suffered crisis of faith and Babbel’s End helped him to overcome this and he is a very open minded person and friends with Bilal, but will Bilal’s suggestion cause a rift in their friendship.
This is a really enjoyable and enlightening read and the writing is wonderful and the reflects so much of the issues of communities. I liked the different characters and particularly enjoyed learning more about Muslim society and the challenges that the family experience through other people’s prejudices. I live in a small village and the small mindedness of the bush cutting incident really resonated with me. The story is honest, sad, hopeful and so reminiscent of the culture in our country today. I loved it and I will be reading more of this author’s books.

About the author
Born and raised South Londoner, lover of books (obviously), and writer of contemporary fiction. A former publicist at Penguin Random House, turned managing editor at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, turned full-time writer. My debut novel, Sofia Khan is not Obliged, and its sequel, The Other Half of Happiness, (Zaffre), were dubbed as the ‘Muslim Bridget Jones.’ My latest novel, This Green and Pleasant Land, (Zaffre) is out now. I’ve also contributed to the anthology, A Change is Gonna Come, (Stripes Publishing), and upcoming collection, A Match Made in Heaven, (Hope Road Publishing). Also known for ghost-writing Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain’s, adult books. 
Poetry

Confess – Juliette van der Molen – Blog Tour @atwistintimemag @j_vandermolen #Confess #poetry #Salem

About the book

Released October 9th 2020

‘1692 Salem, Massachusetts – Based on the life of Dorothy Good, the youngest person accused of and imprisoned for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials, Confess tells the story of the trauma surrounding this nearly forgotten child from one of the darkest chapters in early American history. A colony is plunged into turmoil filled with misunderstandings, fear, intolerance, religious fervor, and an egregious abuse of power. Over the course of the year, more than two hundred people are accused of witchcraft and thirty are found guilty. Nineteen will be sentenced to death.

Four-year-old Dorothy and her mother, Sarah Good, are arrested for witchcraft.

Dorothy will confess.

Sarah will hang.

This is Dorothy’s story…’

My thoughts

Thank you to Isabelle Kenyon at Fly on the Wall Press for my invitation to the tour and my copy of the book. I will be sharing one of the poems from this book from Confess today on my blog.

Farewell
February 29, 1692
Salem, Massachusetts

a goodbye screamed at
the top of her lungs,
howled to the rafters
as her mother,
the centre of
her universe is
torn from the front door
by the hands of
sombre men in heavy
shoes.

this howl follows
and tethers daughter
to mother to the sister
inside a burgeoning
belly, pulsing with life,
bouncing beneath
the hammered heart
of Sarah Good.

pudgy fingers reach
and grasp nothing,
disturbed air settles
down around until
there are choked
sobs heaving in the
silence, a nose running
that no one will
think enough to wipe.

this farewell is hollow,
there will be nothing
well about it, a warrant
clutched in sinewy hands
as they are ordered out,
once again
banished to beggary,
scourge of Salem
exposed by a devil
with Puritan hands.

About the author

Juliette van der Molen is an ex-pat poet living in Wales. She is an intersectional feminist and member of the LGBTQ+ community. Her work has appeared in The Wellington Street Review, Nightingale & Sparrow, Burning House Press and several other publications. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net. Juliette is also the Poetry Editor for Mookychick Magazine. She is a spoken word performer and has had the honour of appearing in several venues in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her books include: Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse Collection, Mother May I? and  Anatomy of A Dress.

You can connect with her via Twitter @j_vandermolen and her website www.JulietteWrites.com.