It’s been a strange month and I haven’t read very much so I thought I’d share a very quick wrap-up for April. I’ve had a viral infection on top of my usual MS health issues so it’s not been easy to concentrate at all. Basically I had one of those months where all the wheels fell off! I’ve missed blog tours, forgotten publication day posts and have read about half of what I expected to. I also forgot my MOT was due, missed my mobile payment and got locked in a toilet! I felt like a disaster zone. I felt like a really bad blogger too. I hate letting people down, so I had to give myself a stern talking to. Although I know it’s important to keep our obligations and post about the books I’m lucky enough to be sent, there are times when I get overwhelmed and need to give myself a break. Of course I let tour organisers and publicity teams know when I can’t or haven’t met a date or tour asap, but I had to give myself a break. So that’s what I’ll be doing this week, checking through my diary and being realistic about what dates I can meet, and those I will be a little late on. I’m so grateful for all the books I’m sent and I know they’re sent for a reason, but I think it’s ok to sometimes admit to having taken on too much or that everyday life or health has cut into the reading time I usually have. I find that most tour organisers are lovely and kind about these difficulties. I have to remember that I’m not superwoman and I can’t do everything.
Someone Else’s Shoes is the latest novel from Jojo Moyes and follows two very different women as they accidentally end up with each other’s shoes after an accidental bag swap at the spa. One lives in the penthouse of the spa hotel, whereas the other is a print company salesperson who’s using a spa voucher before it runs out. As one woman, in cheap borrowed pumps, finds her life starting to implode the other finds that her borrowed Christian Laboutins are giving her confidence as well as contracts. This is a great look at how the other half live, but also a wonderful tale of female friendship and how powerful the support of other women can be.
Every Happy Family is a great novel about family, but written like a thriller. This is the first time in years that Minnie and Bert have had their three children under one roof for Christmas. Lizzie, Jess and even their eldest son Owen has come over from Australia. However, Owen’s teenage girlfriend Nora is also in the village, organising the clearance and sale of her mother’s house after her death. Owen became estranged from his parents after his break-up from Nora. Would it be wrong to invite her to share Christmas with them? Using flashbacks, the author slowly reveals what happened all those years ago and why the family are still feeling the fallout to this day.
Thirty Days in Paris was a brilliant escapist read where we follow Juliet as she rents a loft apartment in Paris to spend thirty days writing her book. She has been working for years as a ghost writer, but now she wants to write her own story. With an empty nest and newly divorced, she makes her way towards her future. But Juliet has been keeping a secret for the last two decades and she needs to resolve the past, before any more time passes. This is a romantic story, filled with beautiful French food, fashion and all the sights. I found myself quite lost in it’s pages and craving a city break as I turned the final page.
The Gin Palace is the second outing for Tracey Whitwell’s character Tanz who I fell in love with in her first novel The Accidental Medium. Tanz can talk to ghosts, but it’s a gift she didn’t want and she finds their constant chattering exhausting. When she’s offered an acting job in Newcastle, a new image starts to haunt her of an old Gin Palace with a very sinister figure guarding the door. With a little bit of detective work, Tanz starts to piece together the history of the building she’s seeing. The closer she gets though, the sinister figure takes the form of a poltergeist and he’s determined to keep his secrets hidden. He’s used to scaring people away, but he’s never met someone like Tanz before. This is a brilliant series, spooky but modern and seriously funny.
Strange Sally Diamond was an incredible read and another truly original novel from Liz Nugent. Sally can’t understand why people are so upset with her. When she asked her dying father about his final wishes he told her to put him out with the rubbish. So why are people angry that she put his body in the incinerator? Now Sally is in the glare of the village, the national press and has a strange watcher from the other side of the world. She finds out her childhood was not what she thinks, but can she overcome the horrors of that time and live as an independent adult? Maybe make friends, own a house and get a job? Do we ever escape our childhood? This is a brilliant psychological thriller, with a fascinating central character.