blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Boy Queen – George Lester*

Fall wig first into a world of big hair, high heels and even higher stakes in George Lester’s debut novel Boy Queen.

Life’s a drag until you try . . .

Robin Cooper’s life is falling apart.

While his friends prepare to head off to University, Robin is looking at a pile of rejection letters from drama schools up and down the country, and facing a future without the people he loves the most. Everything seems like it’s ending, and Robin is scrabbling to find his feet.

Unsure about what to do next and whether he has the talent to follow his dreams, he and his best friends go and drown their sorrows at a local drag show, where Robin realizes there might be a different, more sequinned path for him . . .

With a mother who won’t stop talking, a boyfriend who won’t acknowledge him and a best friend who is dying to cover him in glitter make up, there’s only one thing for Robin to do: bring it to the runway.

My thoughts:

Oh my wigs and lashes, this was such a fun read, I loved it. Written by a real life drag queen, aka That Gurrrl, this is such a delight.

Robin is out and surrounded by fantastic friends and a loving mum, a committed Drag Race fan, a birthday night out at a local drag night lights a spark in him and off he goes to discover his inner diva and drag up his life.

As a lifelong theatre kid and glitter aficionado who gets make up tips from drag queens at Pride, this book made my queer little heart sing. It’s so much fun and real and I just loved it.

My inner drag queen had her heels on and was dancing a boogie when Robin finally took the stage and it just ticked so many boxes for me.

Drag has become more and more mainstream over the last few years and the more positive stories about LGBTQ+ lives that get published the better.


*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: The Stray Cats of Homs – Eva Nour*

Sami’s childhood is much like any other – an innocent blend of family and school, of friends and relations and pets (including stray cats and dogs, and the turtle he keeps on the roof).

But growing up in one of the largest cities in Syria, with his country at war with itself, means that nothing is really normal. And Sami’s hopes for a better future are ripped away when he is conscripted into the military and forced to train as a map maker. Sami may be shielded from the worst horrors of the war, but it will still be impossible to avoid his own nightmare…

Inspired by extraordinary true events, The Stray Cats of Homs is the story of a young man who will do anything to keep the dream of home alive, even in the face of unimaginable devastation. Tender, wild and unbearably raw, it is a novel which will stay with you for ever.

My thoughts:

This book was beautiful, sad, moving and tender. Sami and his friends find ways to live despite the war in the streets and the constant terror of rocket attacks around them.

A gentle person, Sami is conscripted and forced to work for a military he does not believe in, waging war on their own people. He becomes a journalist, trying to share the reality of life under fire.

His escape and journey to the safety of Paris, where he meets the author, had my heart in my mouth at times.

Written under a nom de plume to protect the real “Sami”, the author is now his partner, and there is a sense of that affection throughout. As well as that of Sami’s for animals – he never loses his tender heart.

*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: Dear Emmie Blue – Lia Louis

In this charming and poignant novel, teenager Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her email address and a big secret into the sky, only to fall head-over-heels for the boy who finds it; now, fourteen years later, the one thing Emmie has been counting on is gone for good, and everything she planned is up in the air.

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.

Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?

Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over.

My thoughts:

This book made me cry. In a good way. It’s sweet, lovely, funny and charming. I loved Emmie, my heart broke for her, all the shit she’d overcome. I loved Rosie and Fox, they’re hilarious. Lucas was kind of an arse, Eliot was not.

Just a really, really lovely book.

*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: Note to Boy – Sue Clark*

Eloise is an erratic, faded fashionista. Bradley is a glum but wily teenager.

In need of help to write her racy 1960s memoirs, the former ‘shock frock’ fashion guru tolerates his common ways. Unable to remember his name, she calls him Boy. Desperate to escape a brutal home life, he puts up with her bossiness and confusing notes.

Both guard secrets. How did she lose her fame and fortune? What is he scheming – beyond getting his hands on her bank card? And just what’s hidden in that mysterious locked room?

Sue Clark has grilled John Humphreys, quipped with Ronnie Corbett, danced with one James Bond and had a one-sided conversation with another, and penned funny lines for the likes of Lenny Henry, June Whitfield, Roy Hudd and David Jason. She’s been a BBC radio and TV comedy scriptwriter on such shows such as Alas Smith and Jones, Weekending, The News Huddlines and The Jason Explanation, a copywriter, a PR, a journalist, a magazine editor, a writer of guidebooks, a secretary and was, briefly, paid to read books all day long for a film producer. And now she’s written a novel.

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My thoughts:

This is a witty, intelligent novel with some laugh out loud, snorting moments as Eloise recounts her life’s misadventures to the rather reluctant ears of Bradley, her assistant/cleaner/life coach.

She’s led a colourful life, the toast of Swinging London, at least according to her!

This was tremendous fun, and had a hugely redemptive and satisfying ending.


*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: The Silence – Susan Allott*

It is 1997, and in a basement flat in Hackney Isla Green is awakened by a call in the middle of the night: her father, phoning from Sydney. 30 years ago, in the suffocating heat of summer 1967, the Greens’ next-door neighbour Mandy disappeared.

At the time, it was thought she had gone to start a new life; but now Mandy’s family is trying to reconnect, and there is no trace of her. Isla’s father Joe was allegedly the last person to see her alive, and now he’s under suspicion of murder.

Reluctantly, Isla goes back to Australia for the first time in a decade. The return to Sydney will plunge her deep into the past, to a quiet street by the sea where two couples live side by side.

Isla’s parents, Louisa and Joe, have recently emigrated from England — a move that has left Louisa miserably homesick while Joe embraces this new life. Next door, Steve and Mandy are equally troubled. Mandy doesn’t want a baby, even though Steve — a cop trying to hold it together under the pressures of the job — is desperate to become a father.

The more Isla asks about the past, the more she learns: about both young couples and the secrets each marriage bore. Could her father be capable of doing something terrible? How much does her mother know? And is there another secret in this community, one which goes deeper into Australia’s colonial past, which has held them in a conspiracy of silence?

Susan Allott is from the UK but spent part of her twenties in Australia, desperately homesick but trying to make Sydney her home. In 2016 she completed the Faber Academy course, during which she started writing this novel. She now lives in south London with her two children and her very Australian husband.

My thoughts:

This was really interesting, what seemed to be a crime novel about a missing woman turned into an exploration of a dark chapter in Australia’s (and Britain’s) history – the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their families.

A moving and fascinating look into the personal and political and how those can entwine. Timely and powerful, this lingers in the mind long after the final page.

*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: Homecoming – Luan Goldie*

For years Yvonne has tried to keep her demons buried and focus on moving forward. But her guilt is always with her and weighs heavily on her heart.

Kiama has had to grow up without a mother, and while there is so much he remembers about her, there is still plenty he doesn’t know. And there’s only one person who can fill in the gaps.

Lewis wants nothing more than to keep Kiama, his son, safe, but the thought of Kiama dredging up the past worries Lewis deeply. And Lewis doesn’t know if he’s ready to let the only woman he’s ever loved back into his life.

When Kiama seeks Yvonne out and asks her to come with him to Kenya, the place that holds the answers to his questions, she knows she can’t refuse. And this one act sets in motion an unravelling of the past that no one is ready for.

Moving between London and Kenya, and spanning almost two decades, Homecoming is a profound and moving story of love, family and friendship. It’s about coming to terms with your past, opening yourself up to the exquisite pain and pleasure of love, and of what happens when three lost souls, all bound by one person, come together and finally share their truths.

My thoughts:

This was a fascinating novel about family, the past and dealing with things we’ve locked away.

Kiama has fragmented memories of his childhood in Kenya, before his mother’s death, and he wants to make sense of them. His dad doesn’t want to talk about it, so he seeks out his mother’s best friend Yvonne and asks her to come with him to Kenya to unravel his memories.

Interestingly Yvonne knows the whole story but is uncomfortable with what it says about her. There’s things she doesn’t really want to tell Kiama, they don’t paint her in a good light or his father.

The plot moves back and forth between Yvonne’s past and the present, revealing the secrets she’d rather keep to herself.

*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: The Wish List – Sophia Money-Coutts*

‘You want me to write a list? Like a shopping list?’
Gwendolyn nodded. ‘Exactly. But for what you want from a man, not ASDA.’

Florence Fairfax isn’t lonely. She loves her job at the little bookshop in Chelsea and her beloved cat Marmalade keeps her company at night. She might have been single for quite a while – well, forever actually, if anyone’s asking – but she’s perfectly happy, thank you. And then Florence meets eccentric love coach Gwendolyn, and everything changes.

When Gwendolyn makes Florence write a wish list describing her perfect man, Florence refuses to take it seriously. Finding someone who likes cats, has the sexual athleticism of James Bond and can overlook her ‘counting’ habit? Impossible! Until, later that week, a handsome blond man asks for help in the bookshop…

Rory seems to fit the list perfectly. But is he ‘the one’, or simply too good to be true? Florence is about to find out that her criteria for Mr Right aren’t as important as she thought – and that perhaps she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places…

My thoughts:

A funny, warm and entertaining read about love, family and cats. Also working in a bookshop. All of which are good things, especially the bookshop and the cats.

Florence has lots of routines and rules to help her cope with life, she also has two sisters who are her house mates, a slightly overbearing stepmother, works in a genteel old bookshop with a matching boss, a theatrical co-worker and not a lot of luck in the romance department.

Her stepmother buys her a course of love therapy with an eccentric guru and it seems to be working, or is it?

There’s some genuine laugh out loud moments and the bonds between Florence and her friends and family are endearing, a really jolly read.

This was a great read for the summer heatwave, sat with my feet in a bowl of water, wishing it was a pool or the sea. So take it to the park, your back garden or the sofa with snacks.

*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: With or Without You – Drew Davies*

‘How long does a coma last?’ I ask.
‘Days, weeks, months?’ the nurse replies with a shrug, although her eyes are very kind.
‘But on average?’
She just smiles, unable to give me an answer.

Wendy’s life can be neatly divided into two: before and after.
Before her husband’s car accident, it was just the two of them. They never took the train at rush hour, and they avoided their noisy neighbour upstairs.

Naveem devoted his spare time to vintage train models, and Wendy to re-reading the well-thumbed pages of her favourite books. It didn’t matter what others thought about their small, quiet life together – they were happy.
After the coma, Wendy barely recognises herself. When she’s not holding the love of her life’s hand, accompanied by the beep of the life-support machine, who is she? The nurse tells her to talk to Naveem – that he can still hear her – but she doesn’t have a single thing to say.
Suddenly Wendy can’t bear the silence. She needs something, anything, to talk to Naveem about.

Suddenly she’s losing herself at fairgrounds packed with crowds and candyfloss, she’s at the airport, waiting for the whoosh of the planes as they take off, making friends with the neighbour she has spent over a decade avoiding.
Knowing that every breath her husband takes might be his last, Wendy has no choice but to try to carry on without him. Should she feel guilty about living while his life is on pause? And when – if – he wakes up, will he still love the woman she has become?

This poignant, moving and uplifting tale is for anyone who has taken life for granted, neglected to say ‘I love you’ to their loved ones, or forgotten to find happiness in the little things. Perfect for fans of Josie Silver, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Jojo Moyes.

Drew Davies was born in London and grew up in Whanganui, New Zealand. He attended the Unitec School of Performing Arts in Auckland and won a Playmarket New Zealand Young Playwright of the Year award in 2000. After a brief stint on a kiwi soap, he has worked in Search for the past 15 years.

Drew’s other claim to fame is that Stephen Fry once called him droll. Either that, or he got his name wrong. He now lives in Wanstead, London.

My thoughts:

A bittersweet tale about learning who you are later in life. When Naveem ends up in a coma, his wife, Wendy, finds herself alone for the first time in twenty years.

But who is she without him?

This book made me laugh, Wendy’s growing relationships with her eccentric neighbour in particular was very entertaining and her delightful bond with small nephew Henry is a joy.

This was a really enjoyable read and perfect for the quiet moments in busy lives.

*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: Eleven Lines to Somewhere – Alyson Rudd*


In a world of what-ifs, a connection has been made …

When Ryan spots a young woman on the tube on his commute, he can’t take his eyes off her. Instantly attracted and intrigued, he’s keen to find out more about his mysterious fellow passenger.

The woman he thinks of as Millie spends all day travelling the Underground, unable to leave for reasons unbeknownst to Ryan. For some inexplicable reason, he just can’t shake the feeling he wants to help her escape her endless commute.

My thoughts:

This is a rather sweet story that could have become something creepy but redeemed itself.

Ryan keeps seeing a beautiful woman on the Tube, then he starts following her (see what I mean about creepy), luckily he’s convinced to speak to her and meets Sylvie, a young woman riding London’s rails trying to fix something in herself.

They fall in love and begin to build something, other stories cross their paths, like the lines of the Underground, and it reminds us that we’re all connected in tiny ways.

A smile might make someone’s day and change their life, and being in the right place at the right moment can save them.

Weirdly I know the area of North London the characters travel into town from well, I used to catch the Piccadilly every day to uni so it was strange to imagine these stories playing out in the stations and carriages I’ve been in myself. While this is fiction, there are real stories going on around us every day.

*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: The Life We Almost Had – Amelia Henley*

This is not a typical love story, but it’s our love story.

Anna wasn’t looking for love when Adam swept her off her feet but there was no denying their connection, and she believed they would be together forever.

Years later, cracks have appeared in their relationship. Anna is questioning whether their love can really be eternal when a cruel twist of fate delivers a crushing blow, and Anna and Adam are completely lost to one another. Now, Anna needs Adam more than ever, but the way back to him has life-changing consequences.

Is a second chance at first love really worth the sacrifice? Anna needs to decide and time is running out…

My thoughts:

This is a sad, sweet tale of love, loss and finding a new way to live. It tackles some big issues as well as some futuristic science.

The relationship between Anna and Adam is recognisable as pretty normal – not perfect but not terrible, they’ve faced difficulties and it’s caused strain, which feels familiar to anyone in a relationship, we all have our ups and downs.

Be warned, this is a tearjerker, so have tissues handy. The ending is very bittersweet and lovely.

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