blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: First in the Fight – Helen Antrobus & Andrew Simcock*

Emmeline Pankhurst stands proudly in St Peter’s Square, but she stands for so many more…

First in the Fight tells the compelling stories of the twenty women featured on the Our Emmeline statue long-list. Author Helen Antrobus brings to life the achievements of these radical Manchester women alongside beautiful illustrations by the Women in Print collective.

Be part of the legacy of the 20 Manchester women who changed the world.

The women of Greater Manchester have long stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight for equality and social change. The unveiling of the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peter’s Square, strove to represent the contributions that Manchester women had made not only to the city, but also to the rest of the world.

Sitting alongside stunning illustrations from the ‘Women in Print’ collective, First in the Fight brings to life the stories of a range of inspiring women, from suffragettes, to botanists and mathematicians. The efforts of these pioneering women have shaped the world we live in and have helped pave the way for the voices of the next generation of women to be heard.

My thoughts:

This was a really interesting read, showcasing some incredible women from the past whose campaigning work has changed history and still affects us today. As well as the Pankhursts and other well known names, this book also showcases some women you may not be so familiar with. All of them connected to Manchester in some way, where a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst was erected not so long ago.

I was interested to learn about the women whose names were less familiar, history still mainly teaches about the men of influence and it is hard sometimes to find out about the women who changed history. I wrote my A Level History coursework on Mrs Pankhurst, and was told I should have chosen a man. That wasn’t that long ago.

Books like this, stories like these women’s, are so important in reshaping the discourse around our history and the place of women in it. I hope every school buys several copies and adds these women (and others) to their curriculum as our lives today would be very different without them and their hard won successes.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, reviews

Book Review: Feathertide – Beth Cartwright

Marea was born to be different – a girl born covered in the feathers of a bird, and kept hidden in a crumbling house full of secrets. When her new tutor, the Professor, arrives with his books, maps and magical stories, he reveals a world waiting outside the window and her curiosity is woken. Caught in the desire to discover her identity and find out why she has feathers fluttering down her back like golden thistledown, she leaves everything she has ever known and goes in search of the father she has never met.

This hunt leads her to the City of Murmurs, a place of mermaids and mystery, where jars of swirling mist are carried through the streets by the broken-hearted. It is here that she learns about love, identity and how to accept being that little bit different.

My thoughts:

This is a beautiful fairy tale for grown ups. Set mostly in a Venice style city on a lagoon, where magic and mystery weave through the streets and canals. It is utterly transporting and truly beautiful.

It reminded me a little of Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, but that might just be because like Marea, Carter’s protagonist is a girl with feathers living in a world of enchantment and wonder.

I couldn’t put it down and was left slightly bereft at its end as I didn’t want the spell it had woven to end.

Published in May 2020, this is definitely a book to pre-order and allow to carry you away. I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy but I will be buying a beautiful first edition next year.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Devil’s Apprentice – Kenneth B. Andersen*


The Devil's Apprentice: The Great Devil War I by [Andersen, Kenneth B., Andersen, Kenneth Bøgh]

Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy.

Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training Philip in the ways of evil. Philip is terrible at being bad, but when he falls in love with the she-devil Satina and experiences the powerful forces of love and jealousy, the task becomes much easier.

Philip finds both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld–but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?

The Great Devil War is a gripping and humorous tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective, making the reader laugh and think. It’s filled with biblical and historical characters and set in a world beyond your wildest dreams. Or nightmares …


My thoughts:

This was a fun read, although the concept isn’t entirely new, it’s well executed and features a talking cat (always a good thing). First in a four book series, featuring some characters you may have heard of.

Philip as a character got a bit annoying at the beginning, he’s a bit pathetic but he improves as the plot goes along and he discovers he isn’t as useless as he thought he was.

I hadn’t heard of the Danish author before reading this, and I’m quite impressed with his world building and the humorous moments he works into the narrative.

If you are looking for a new fantasy series, this is worth a read, and there’s a talking cat (did I mention that already!?!)

*In exchange for taking part in this blog tour I was kindly gifted a copy of this book but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: All The Wrong Places – Joy Fielding*

You always know who you’re meeting online . . . don’t you?

Turning to online dating each with their own reasons, four women download an app, hoping to swipe their way to love and happiness.

But not everyone is who they seem online. Hidden behind a perfect smile and charming humour, he appears to be the perfect date. But the night he has planned is unlike any other.

The clock is ticking, and for one woman, this date might just be her last . . .

My thoughts:

I’ve never tried online dating, meeting my husband in a rather old-fashioned way at work, but my cousin met her husband on Tinder, so it works well for some. Unless of course a serial killer is hunting his victims through an app.

Paige is single, her long-term boyfriend having cheated on her with her cousin Heather, and living with her mother, she’s also currently unemployed. So between job hunting, she decides to see if she can find Mr Right, but what if he isn’t quite so nice?

I love a clever thriller and this one is that, told from the perspective of both Paige, and the mysterious murderer, Boston forms the backdrop to a world of interviews, dates and coming to terms with your mother dating again!

There some humorous bits as well as lots of death, will Paige end up on the killer’s list of matches?

I’m not telling!

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Vagabond King – Jodie Bond*

T hreon, the Vagabond King, is torn from a life in the palace by raiders and forced to scrape a living on the streets of a foreign land.

Meeting a witch from distant mountains, a rebel soldier and a woman cursed by a god, he seeks retribution through a quest to reclaim his home and throne.

Together they rekindle old allegiances, face an immortal army and learn to trust one another.

But when the gods begin to interfere with their plans, is it a curse or a blessing?

Jodie Bond comes from a family of gin makers in the mountains of north Wales. She works in marketing and performs as a burlesque artist.

She had an unconventional childhood, dividing her time between a quiet life on her mother’s farm and her father’s home which was infamous for holding some of the UK’s biggest raves in the 90s.

My thoughts:

This is an interesting start to what could be a cracking series, as Threon, the titular Vagabond King reclaims the kingdom that was stolen from him and fights for his people.

The premise is interesting and I found the direct involvement of the gods reminded me of Greek mythology, where everyone treats it as normal for a god to just pop by for a chat, and a bit of manipulation.

There are also several strong female characters, Savanta and Azzania in particular, one gods-touched and one a powerful Druid type figure.

I look forward to seeing this series grow, building on from this one and developing the characters further and expanding the world building the author has already developed.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part on the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Tour: Love Potions and Other Calamities – Charlie Laidlaw*

Love Potions and Other Calamities by [Laidlaw, Charlie]

Rosie McLeod, pub proprietor and a gifted herbalist of local renown, is thirty-nine and holding, but only just. The talons of her fortieth birthday are in her back and her bloody, bloody husband hasn’t laid a lustful hand on her for months.

Rosie sets out to discover if her husband is having an affair, using deductive powers based solely on the careful preparation of plants and herbs. But as her well-laid plans entirely fall apart, the sighting of a large black cat sets off another chain of events.

Rosie now realises that a psychopath is on the loose and that she’s been selected as his next victim.

My thoughts:

This was a clever entertaining read, Rosie is fast approaching forty and is fed up, her skills in herbal medications mean that she knows all about what effects something as simple as a few herbs and hedgerow flowers have on the human anatomy.

While she’s wrapped up in fears over her marriage, someone is following their own conspiracy – about witches.

I liked the links with Scottish history, including the tragic history of women accused of being witches, Scotland being the only place in the British Isles who burned witches (everyone else hanged them).

There has been a resurgence of modern witchcraft and herbal knowledge and this feeds nicely into this, becoming a crime thriller as the witchfinder circles closer.

Then there’s the mysterious giant black cat, a bit like the Beast of Bodmin, that several people have seen and an election campaign taking place in the village at the same time.

The book is very funny at points and great when you need something fairly light-hearted (murders aside) to read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: What She Saw Last Night – MJ Cross*

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep.

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.

But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.

My thoughts:

Trains have famously been the place where crimes take place – thanks to a certain Agatha Christie. But instead of a grand trip across Europe, Jenny is taking the sleeper to Edinburgh when the crime she says she witnessed takes place.

The plot that unravels goes to places you don’t expect – what seems like a straightforward case of murder and maybe missing person turns out to be a lot more dangerous and shocking.

The plot whizzes along, the writing is tight and carries you along with it, just like a train.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.