Wednesday 24 January 2024

#Blogtour The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Spy Coast by Tess Gerritsen. The first in a new series called the Martini Club and it's one you don't want to miss.

About the Author

International bestselling author Tess Gerritsen began to write fiction whilst on maternity leave as a physician. She published her first novel in 1987 and has since sold over forty million copies of her books in forty countries.

Her series featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the television series Rizzoli and Isles, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Now retired from medicine, she lives in Maine and writes full time. Follow @tessgerritsen on X

About the book

Maggie Bird is many things. A chicken farmer. A good neighbour. A seemingly average retiree living in the seaside town of Purity. She's also a darned good rifle shot. And she never talks about her past.

But when an unidentified body is left on Maggie's driveway, she knows it's a calling card from old times. It's been fifteen years since the failed mission that ended her career as a spy, and cost her far more than her job.

Step forward the 'Martini Club' - Maggie's silver-haired book group (to anyone who asks), and a cohort of former spies behind closed doors. With the help of her old friends - and always one step ahead of the persistent local cop - Maggie might still be able to save the life she's built.

The Spy Coast is the first novel in the Martini Club series.


Maggie Bird, a bit of recluse, who keeps herself to herself except for her nearest neighbours and the book club. The book club of ex-spies, well some of them are. When the past comes knocking Maggie has to make a choice, should she run or fight for the life she has spent a long time cultivating.

You may know Gerritsen from her very popular Rizzoli and Isles series - this is a new series, the first book of the Martini Club.

I have to say that although you can clearly detect the style of voice the author is known, which is always a great combination of humour, snark, mystery and crime, there is an element to this I found quite intriguing. It has a Herron kind of self deprecating view on the world of spydom with a laissez-faire attitude towards necessary violence in juggling the inadequacies of our world-view on justice.

It's dry, witty and hard as an egg boiled beyond life expectancy, and it is equally warm with intricately woven relationships between the most unexpected of characters. I enjoyed it - hope it gets picked up for small screen, because it would be such fun, in a spy kills spy with a complete lack of remorse kind of way. Looking forward to the next in the series.

Buy The Spy Coast at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bantam Press / Transworld Books, pub date 18 January 2024. Buy at Amazon com. Via Bookshop org.

Thursday 18 January 2024

#Blogtour Strong Female Character by Fern Brady

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Strong Female Character by Fern Brady.

About the Author

Fern Brady is a woman. She is also autistic. She was born in Scotland (no, not Glasgow). She has no pre-sets for being a 'good woman' - she never hated her body or indulged in messy millennial shame. She now lives out of wedlock in London. She has zero children.

Fern's caustic wit, exceptional writing and electric stage craft has made her one of the UK's hottest comedy stars. As seen on Live from the BBC, Live from the Comedy Store, The Russell Howard Hour, and Live at the Apollo. She's had viral success with her BBC Life Lessons and supported Frankie Boyle and Katherine Ryan on tour. She can currently be seen on Taskmaster on Channel 4. Follow @FernBrady on X

About the book

Fern: A summary of my book:

1. I'm diagnosed with autism 20 years after telling a doctor I had it.

2. My terrible Catholic childhood: I hate my parents etc.

3. My friendship with an elderly man who runs the corner shop and is definitely not trying to groom me. I get groomed.

4. Homelessness.

5. Stripping.

6. More stripping but with more nervous breakdowns.

7. I hate everyone at uni and live with a psycho etc.

8. REDACTED as too spicy.

9. After everyone tells me I don't look autistic, I try to cure my autism and get addicted to Xanax.

10. REDACTED as too embarrassing.


I'm going to stray from the well trodden path of observations and experiences of finding this memoir 'a riot or funny' - I did however find it a deeply introspective experience. A memoir that is an open living document of memories, visceral reactions and constant questioning.

As a parent of a diagnosed and undiagnosed neurodivergent persons, I found the interactions with her parents quite interesting. Thirty-three to forty years ago the Western world was still on the cusp of discovering and trying to understand neurodiversity. A time when blame was sought in food sources, environmental reasons, and of course the great vaccine and mercury poisoning theories. Also a time when many countries didn't recognise neurodiversity and bad parenting was a word often thrown about. 

Also, I might add, a time when the possibility of a genetic trait or link had yet to be introduced or proven. Now many parents of neurodiverse children, both young and of adult age, are realising that one or both of said parents are also neurodivergent. 

Schools refusing to engage with medical, therapeutic care or suggestions. The reality of trying to help your child succeed, progress, stay safe and healthy in a world created for neurotypical children and adults, and doing so whilst climbing insurmountable mountains for them. There is basic lack of understanding of this at first, but towards the end of the book there are some moments of clarity.

I concur with the sentiment of young neurodiverse individuals being brave enough to withstand the judgemental world of social media in our era, and doing so to give insight into their world, minds and neurodiversity. They have become a teaching tool, and I would include newly diagnosed adults in the same group.

It's a fast-paced memoir fuelled by frustration, anger and this element of not being able to reach something that is just ever so slightly out of reach. When Fern does receive confirmation it also comes with the realisation that nothing changes, despite an overriding label. The daily battle, the need for masking to suit societal expectations, the meltdowns, the shutting down - all that changes is knowing the why. Everything else is one step at a time, day by day.

Buy Strong Female Character at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Octopus, pub date 11 January 2024. Buy at Amazon com. At

Tuesday 9 January 2024

#Blogtour One of The Good Guys by Araminta Hall

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour for One Of the Good Guys by Araminta Hall - it's an incredible read.

About the Author

Araminta Hall is a journalist and teacher. She is the author of five previous novels, including her first novel, Everything & Nothing, which was published in 2011 and became a Richard & Judy read that year. She is the great niece of Dodie Smith and the great granddaughter of Lawrence Beesley, who survived the Titanic and wrote a bestselling account of the tragedy in the book, The Loss of the SS Titanic. 

She teaches creative writing at New Writing South in Brighton, where she lives with her husband and three children. Follow @AramintaHall on X

About the book

If most men claim to be one of the good guys, then why do so many women live in fear? This is what happens when two such women have had enough...

Cole is the perfect husband; a romantic, supportive of his wife’s career, keen to be a hands-on dad, not a big drinker. A good guy.

So when his wife leaves him, he's floored. She was lucky to be with a man like him. Craving solitude, he accepts a job on the coast and quickly settles into his new life. Then he meets reclusive artist Lennie. And though she is quite different from the woman he’d expected, he believes he has finally found a soulmate. But as their relationship develops, two young women go missing while on a walk protesting gendered violence, right by where Cole and Lennie live. 

Finding themselves at the heart of a police investigation and media frenzy, Cole soon realises they don’t know each other very well at all . . .


First - always trust your gut instinct. Women, and I would add children to that list, but especially women and girls are taught to ignore the basic survival instincts. That nagging feeling they might be in danger, the slither of doubt, which becomes a fleeting and forgotten thought. Society, history and for many centuries entire cultures, have focused on teaching obedience and compliance.

This is good for you, they say. It's all in your head, you're overreacting, what will other people think, you wanted it, you asked for it, what did you say and what were you wearing to make him/them do it? Sound familiar? Sad isn't it. The majority of women will recognise some element of the above. 

The systemic oppression, violence and abuse of women, and I include girls in that category, hasn't become a thing of the past in the 21st century. No, it's actually on the rise. Much like fascism, populists and right wing mantras in the guise of sensible conservative views. We are seeing a steady incline in the voices braying for women's rights to be stripped, their voices to be silenced, and for them to return to their proper place in society. Correlation much between patriarchy, supremacy and the aforementioned.

Trust your gut instinct - it will guide you with a steady and reliable hand in this story. From the very beginning if you listen closely you can hear the alarm bells ringing away.

Cole is going through a difficult break-up. His wife Mel is a workaholic with little time for their marriage or future family. He enjoys the isolation, but doesn't like feeling lonely, which is how he forms a connection with Lennie - a woman who appears to be just as isolated and lonely. Appearances can be deceiving and as the story evolves it seems as if there is more to the story than meets the eye, especially when two young women go missing close to where he lives.

The author shows the hypocrisy of tables turned. How actions, words and responses are viewed through a different lens depending on whether you are a man or a woman. Also how eager society is to bury a bad or evil woman, but in the same breathe rehabilitate, save and reinvent a bad man. The irony of whole industries relying on women infatuated by the stereotypical bad man who can only be redeemed by the love of a 'good' woman, who of course justifies the violence, abuse and overall controlling nature of the male. - Same people who will happily burn a witch, also known as a woman who does not know her place, on Sunday in the back garden and then get annoyed that the freshly laundered clothes are covered in the stench of their subconscious guilt.

Side note -  the chapters with the social media comments and the news or opinion pieces are a tough pill to swallow, because they are the reality of living in our tech advanced lives. The toughest kick to the heart of womanhood are the blows delivered by other women. Those who are so embedded in the misogyny of the patriarchy that they believe they must look down upon, sneer at, belittle, oppress, injure and destroy other women.

It's a powerful domestic thriller, dark and compelling. The truth of justice in the midst of daily injustice is often just a bitter aftertaste in the back of your throat. Highly recommend it.

Buy One Of The Good Guys at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Macmillan | Hardback £16.99| pub date 4th January 2024. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 2 January 2024

#Blogtour The Glass Woman by Alice McIlroy

It's a pleasure to help kick off the Blogtour for The Glass Woman by Alice McIlroy - Long-listed for the Stylist Prize for Feminist Fiction.

About the Author

Alice McIlroy was born in London. She graduated in English and has a post-graduate in Law. She completed Faber Academy’s novel-writing programme. She has taught English in state schools in London and Milan, and volunteers with a post-natal depression charity. Her writing has been longlisted for the Stylist Prize for Feminist Fiction and Grindstone International Novel Prize. The Glass Woman is her debut novel. Find @alice_mcilroy on X and @alicemcilroy_author on Instagram. Visit

About the book

If you could delete all the hurt and pain from your life... would you? Even if you weren't sure what would be left?

Pioneering scientist Iris Henderson awakes in a hospital bed with no memories. She is told that she is the first test-subject for an experimental therapy, placing a piece of AI technology into her brain. She is also told that she volunteered for it. But without her memories, Iris doesn't know what the therapy is or why she would ever choose it.

Everyone warns her to leave it alone, but Iris doesn't know who to trust. As she scratches beneath the surface of her seemingly happy marriage and successful career, a catastrophic chain of events is set in motion, and secrets will be revealed that have the capacity to destroy her whole life.


Imagine waking up and having the bare minimum idea of who you are and what your life is or was. Being terrified of something you allegedly agreed to, yet subconsciously being in a constant state of disbelief about it. Agreeing to scrub the bad, the painful and incriminating memories, so you can live a more peaceful version of your life and self. It's just a tad inconvenient that the human element of a person will always start to question and eventually try to uncover the moments that are hidden from them.

I really enjoyed this read perhaps because this concept had me going back and forth a little, it's threatening, riveting and deplorable in equal measures. More worrying is the fact it's also probably the future of medical and human AI interventions, which will be used and misused by anyone who believes they can profit from it, whether that be financially or in any other capacity.

Essentially it's an interpersonal system installed in the brain - just from the perspective of the main character in this instance, which screams Gileadesque control at first. It's a element of full control, and complete and utter invasion into self, thought, actions, mental and physical wellbeing. An inner voice that is supposed to help Iris navigate recouping all her memories, that she agreed to have wiped for her own good, within a specific amount of time. Is the system inside her a friend, an enemy? - The irony of the concept having a schizophrenic aspect to it was not lost on me.

On a side-note: How did you answer the question - love the moral dilemma, which also gives an insight into the way Iris thinks she should answer in that situation without the full picture. The full picture tells us her real answer. - I could talk about this book for yonks. It is such an incredible piece of speculative fiction, domestic thriller, and tech and med thriller.

Buy The Glass Woman at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Datura Books, pub date January 2nd, 2024 | Pbk original £9.99 / $17.99. Also Available in eBook & Audio. Buy via Amazon com.

About Datura - An imprint of award-winning SFF publisher, Angry Robot Books, Datura Books focuses on crime with a strong sense of voice and place that push the boundaries of the genre, while playing with readers’ favourite tropes. Datura has been created with the purpose of showcasing plots that engage, stories that matter and most of all, characters that are true to life. Visit