#Review By Lou of Clean Sweep #WriteReads #EBLee @The_WriteReads @WriteReadsTours #BlogTour

Clean Sweep
By E.B. Lee

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Clean Sweep. A poignant book with great themes.

Retirement was supposed to bring her time to paint. Instead, she would find a purpose.

Carli Morris is ready for her next chapter. Selling her Madison Avenue ad agency for billions, the self-assured career woman pursues her love of art and spends her spare hours volunteering. But her comfortable confidence turns to horror when a routine food delivery to a homeless encampment leads her to discover one of its residents dead and her two dogs orphaned.

With the heartbreaking incident reopening the wounds of Carli’s tragic past, she makes it her mission to find the lost soul’s family and re-home her canine companions. And the deeper the former marketing genius gets involved as an outreach worker, the more she is convinced that the answer to her family’s own sorrow lies on these very streets.

As she learns to truly see human beings she had previously treated as invisible, will Carli at last find her own peace?

Review

The themes are what interested me most of volunteering spare time (which in turn becomes “so called spare time” as I also volunteer, so I know all too well, it isn’t really spare time, more a dedication to helping others and spare time becomes that small bit of time on holiday. The theme of social injustice and homelessness is also interesting and really gives a sense, certainly on a level about what it is to live life and try to survive on the streets. As Carli becomes more involved, the more intensely she begins to think of her own life. It’s well written and readers can see the change in Carli as she realises there were humans she would frequently ignore, namely those people on the streets, who can be treated as though they are invisible. It’s also a book about rediscovering self and personal growth. It’s interesting to see that there is a patch of life where Carli seems to of had it all, but really harbours tragedy in her past.

The themes are what really seems to drive this book and takes readers into streets not often explored and coupled together with Carli’s life, becomes poignant. It also explores the sacrifices made when supporting others and Carli certainly sacrifices a lot of her own personal needs.

It’s a book that will touch your heart and soul and consider what you do in your life and the people you may meet and how you handle them, interact with them and how you handle that balance in life when volunteering a lot of time.

#Review By Lou of a twisty, strong female character #book – The Change By Kirsten Miller @bankstirregular @HQstories #menopause #mystery #ContemporaryFiction

The Change
By Kirsten Miller

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for The Change. Thanks to the publisher HQ for inviting me to review and for a hardback copy of this twisty, intriguing book that covers many topics from the menopause to friendships to mystery solving and other worldly issues and elements. Take a look at the blurb and my review to discover more.

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Blurb

Nessa: The Seeker
Jo: The Protector
Harriett: The Punisher

With newfound powers the time has come to take matters into their own hands…

After Nessa is widowed and her daughters leave for college, she’s left alone in her house near the ocean. In the quiet hours, she hears voices belonging to the dead – who will only speak to her.

On the cusp of fifty Harriett’s marriage and career imploded, and she hasn’t left her house in months. But her life is far from over – in fact, she’s undergone a stunning metamorphosis.

Jo spent thirty years at war with her body. The rage that arrived with menopause felt like the last straw – until she discovers she’s able to channel it.

Guided by voices only Nessa can hear, the trio discover the abandoned body of a teenage girl. The police have written off the victim. But the women have not. Their own investigations lead them to more bodies and a world of wealth where the rules don’t apply – and the realisation that laws are designed to protect villains, not the vulnerable.

So it’s up to these three women to avenge the innocent, and punish the guilty…

The time has come to embrace The Change.

Review

There has been a lot of talk recently about peri-menopause and the menopause and this is one aspect of a women’s life this book tackles in a well told, formidable story. It’s hard hitting and explodes with anger at the world, but it is worth reading beyond this as the rage aligns to then having a purpose and matures and the book then goes on to harbour deep themes and bonds. There is, surprisingly, the occasional great pieces of waspish humour surrounding this is a great story, essential themes and strong characters. It is this that essentially makes it a more compelling read.

I shall note here that readers don’t have to be menopausal to read this. I was interested because I am not at that age quite yet, but getting ever closer and it’ll happen one day. There are many themes that most, if not all women will be able to relate to I’m some form or another.

The women, as a reader, I felt sorry for. They’ve all had so many issues – body image, marriage and career issues and so much more. Now, Nessa, Harriett and Jo have reached an age where they’ve developed another layer in life. They want to deal with these issues and they’re also not going to be out off by misogynist men any longer, especially those who want to enter female only spaces. There are also some beach murders, the rage then  becomes more kick ass and grows into a certain maturity, with focus. The women also decide what sort of people they want to become again, and the story benefits from this and realise what they want from their lives and that they don’t need to feel how they used to. They develop some know how as to how to change and in some cases, bloom again, instead of hiding away, like Harriet once did for so long in her life.

There aren’t just issues amongst the living, but also the dead, more than just the obvious of them no longer being alive, as a couple of people have been found, murdered, creating a mystery to also solve. The women are determined to get justice for everything and even go onto a popular podcast to speak out about what has been happening.

The book is twisty with an intriguing plot line showing corruption, murder, gossip and hedge funds. It’s interesting about how of course, the menopause changes women, but also how they choose to change their lives and realise they are in the positions to be able to do this. In amongst the anger and the murders are life stories of friendship, positivity and hope and a certain amount of truth as to how segments of the world works at the moment.

 

#CoverReveal plus blurb of Together Again By Milly Johnson @millyjohnson @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC @BookMinxSJV

Today it gives me great pleasure to reveal the wonderful cover and the blurb for Milly Johnson’s new book – Together, AgainThe book will be released in September 2022. For now, take a look at what it is about in the blurb below… I for one am looking forward to reading this book.

Together Again Milly Johnson cover

Sisters, Jolene, Marsha and Annis have convened at their childhood home the huge and beautiful Fox House following the death of their mother, the cold and impenetrable Eleanor Vamplew, to arrange the funeral and sell up. Born seven years apart, the women have never bonded and are more strangers than sisters.

Jolene, the eldest, is a successful romantic novelist who writes templates of beautiful relationships even though her marriage to the handsome and charming  Warren is a barren wasteland.

Marsha, the neglected middle child has put every bit of her energy into her work hoping money would plug up the massive gap in her life left by the man who broke her young heart, only to find it never has. And now he has been forced back into her life.

Annis is the renegade, who left home aged sixteen and never returned, not even for the death of their beloved father Julian, until now. It is therefore a surprise to all of them to discover that Eleanor recently changed her will to leave everything to the daughter she considered a wretched accident.

Together, Again is the story of truths uncovered and lies exposed, of secrets told – and kept. It is a novel about sister helping sister to heal from childhood scars, and of finding, in each other, the love they have all been deprived of. Together, Again is about vulnerability and strength, acceptance and family. 

#BookReview By Lou of The Hotel on the Riviera By Carol Kirkwood @carolkirkwood @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #HarperFictionPR #TheHotelontheRiviera #Fiction #SummerRead #SummerVibe

The Hotel on the Riviera
By Carol Kirkwood

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Hotel on the Riviera is a beautifully written, summer escapist book, with opulence and intrigue. Find out more in the blurb and my review below. Thanks to Harper Collins UK for a review copy.

Hotel on the Riviera cover

Blurb

From Sunday Times bestselling author and the nation’s best loved TV presenter Carol Kirkwood comes a glittering escape to the French Riviera. ‘A stunning holiday read with passion and heart, perfect…!’ Anton Du Beke

––––––––

By the sapphire blue waters of the French Riviera, a decades-long secret is about to be revealed…

Wayward Greek heiress, Ariana Theodosis, inherits the Hotel du Soleil as part of a mysterious legacy. Captivated by its faded glamour, she hopes it offers her the chance to start again.

Hotelier Gabriel du Lac’s family have owned the hotel for decades – and he has no intention of giving it up for a beautiful stranger.

Madame du Lac has watched the rich and famous pass through the doors of the hotel for almost half a century, and she has kept its secrets too.

As the past finally catches up with them all, will this summer reveal a forgotten secret, and change their lives forever…?

Review

From the outset I felt captivated. The prologue poses much curiosity in the row that is created. Then readers are taken to Ithos, 2009, where Ariana is. It all feels sparkly and richly elegant. Underneath all that is an air of change when she meets up with her father – Demetrios Theodosis.

Readers are on a fantastic journey through the beautifully written book through Ithos, Portofino, Cannes. It all sounds idyllic, but rather mysteriously, tragedy strikes and so does a different sort of intrigue as now there is not only a need to find out more behind the initial beauty, there is a mystery to solve too and the question of what happened at a party is posed.

The Hotel du Soleil intrigues as there is a row brewing over who actually owns it and everyone wants a piece of it and has their own ideas of what to do about it now it’s once, more opulent and rich, famous history has faded away. There are also secrets that are uncovered, as well as quite a bit of name-dropping, which fits the setting of Cannes and around the film industry well. The book captures a bit of the lifestyles of the “other-half” of society.

The Hotel on the Riviera is a great summer read for escapism!

#BookReview By Lou of All About Evie By Matson Taylor – Out Now! @matson_taylor_ @ScribnerUK @simonschusterUK #EvieEpworth #1972 #AllAboutEvie #BookTwt #MustRead

All About Evie
By Matson Taylor

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All About Evie - Matson Taylor

All About Evie is uplifting, incredibly humorous, poignant and a must read for anyone’s tbr list!
This is the second installment from the author who brought us the wonderfully funny and poignant book – The MisEducation Of Evie Epworth 
Check out more in the blurb and then find out about the rest of my review below.
Thanks first to Matson Taylor for arranging a copy to be given to me to review and for 

Blurb

All About Evie CoverTen years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth, Evie is settled in London and working as a production assistant for the BBC. She has everything she ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving a Hornsea Pottery mug and Princess Anne, she finds herself having to rethink her future. What can she do? Is she too old to do it? And will it involve cork-soled sandals? 

As if this isn’t complicated enough, her disastrous love life leaves her worrying that she may be destined for eternal spinsterdom, concerned, as she is, that ‘even Paul had married Linda by the time he was 26’. Through it all, Evie is left wondering whether a 60s miseducation really is the best preparation to glide into womanhood and face the new challenges (strikes, power cuts, Edward Heath’s teeth) thrown up by the growing pains of the 70s.

With the help of friends, both old and new, she might just find a way through her messy 20s and finally discover who exactly she is meant to be…

Review

Evie is now 26 1/2 years old and now living in London, and if there’s something the author – Matson Taylor does well, it is uplifting opening paragraphs and then sustaining that throughout the rest of a book.

Readers – Get re-acquainted with Evie Epworth! This time, the year is 1972 and she is at work doing a sound check at Broadcasting House in the Women’s Hour studio for a special broadcast of Princess Anne doing an interview.
Her best friend is Caroline, who brought her to London as they’re like sisters. She needs that kind of loving after still having her sparkley career in the morning and it vanishing by the afternoon… Then there’s the matter of her love-life and time is moving on and lots of guys are being picked off the shelf and coupled up, as her internal clock is also ticking away. It has a very entertaining, humorous Bridget Jones vibe, right down to a certain list, that fits well and seems a nice nod to those books/films. It’s a vibe that not everyone pulls off well, but Taylor does in this series and yet keeping originality in the characters and narrative.

Nestled amongst the hilarity, there are moments of poignancy and sadness in family matters, but not deeply depressingly sad, it’s another side of grief and dealing with the deceased belongings, a tender, bittersweet moment that is realistically captured, before moving back to Evie working on a plan of action for her next stage in life (sort of).

There are interesting interludes throughout the book, much like there were in the first book – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth. This time it is like a bit of a tour around different parts of Scotland and Yorkshire, giving insights into what happened for a person to get to where they are now. It may not sound like this works on paper like this, but in the book it does and flows naturally. The fact there are interludes sort of reminds me of a style in a drama I used to watch. The interludes in this book add much depth and poignancy.

I am absolutely hooked on reading about Evie Epworth and I am sure others will be too. I can’t wait to see what Matson Taylor writes next!

I highly recommend this book.

 

#Review By Lou of The Poet By Louisa Reid @LouisaReid @DoubleDayUK @RandomTTours #ThePoet #BlogTour

The Poet
By Louisa Reid

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Poet by Louisa Reid, nikita gill, manjett mann, poetry, poet

The Poet is powerful with current and universal themes told in ways readers may not expect. Check out the blurb and my full review below. First, thanks to the publisher – Double Day and organiser – Random T. Tours for gifting a copy of the book and for inviting me to review.

Blurb

The Poet Cover (1)Bright, promising Emma is entangled in a toxic romance with her old professor – and she’s losing control.

Charming, cruel Tom is idolized by his students and peers – and he thinks he holds all the cards.

In their small Oxford home, he manipulates and undermines Emma’s every
thought and act. Soon, he will push her to the limit, and she must decide:
to remain quiet and submit, or to take her revenge.

The Poet is a portrait of a toxic relationship, about coercive control, class
and
privilege: it is also a passionate, page-turning tale of female solidarity and survival.

Written in verse and charged with passion and anger, The Poet is a portrait of a deeply dysfunctional relationship, exploring coercive control, class and privilege. It is also a page-turning tale of female solidarity and survival.

louisa reid, the poet, erika waller, dog days, poetry

Review

The Poet gives a unique perspective as to how a story about life can be told, in that it is presented in verse inside its evocative cover. It’s a book that may prompt/provoke strong feelings to come to the fore.

There’s rawness, strong emotion, the harshness of life being challenging with a relationship being toxic and coercive control, with a softer tone of something beautiful in nature, a cat and female solidarity.
It looks great on a page, the way the words are set out to get their point across, but I also think it would be great being performed like “street/performance poetry”. There are elements that I imagined would sound great being said aloud, with its light and dark, with the shades inbetween.
The book is powerful, thought-provoking, sometimes soft, sometimes fierce with rage in its universally current themes.
There’s the idea of love, of how things could be for Emma in her relationship with Tom, then comes the searing reality of how the so called romance actually is, with a distinct creepy chill that is sure to run down any reader’s bones to see how his charm changes and turns bad, which has consequences and effects as the writing shows what someone coercing a lover can do and what happens next as a result.
There are places where it turns a corner, into how to survive and female solidarity that has some strength to it.
Overall it is an exquisitely written book.

About the Author

Louisa Reid has lived in Cambridge, London and Zurich, and now lives near Manchester. She graduated with a degree in English from Oxford before training as an English teacher at Cambridge University and she continues to work as a teacher. Louisa is the author of four novels for young adults: Black Heart Blue and Gloves Off were both nominated  for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

The Poet BT Poster