*BLOG TOUR* Girlfriend, Interrupted by Patricia Caliskan

Girlfriend, Interrupted

Today is my turn on the Blog Tour for Girlfriend, Interrupted by Patricia Caliskan.

What do you do when the love of your life is already somebody else’s dad…?

Ella Shawe was undomesticated, unattached and uninhibited.

Until she met Dan.

Sexy, charming and funny, Dan ticked all the right boxes and Ella threw herself head-first into the whirlwind romance.

But now she’s moved into his family home, complete with two demanding children and a hyperactive dog.

Throw in Dan’s impossibly perfect ex-wife, Ella’s interfering sex therapist mother and the snooty and dismissive mother-in-law from Hell, and Ella is almost ready to throw in the towel.

But, ready or not, Ella is part of the family now, and getting it right for Dan’s kids means getting it right for everyone. She just needs to figure out how to include herself in the mix…

So I was very much looking forward to reading this novel – the blurb sold it to me as a light but funny novel, looking at a romantic situation that is oh so common these days.  Ella has fallen in love with Dan, and their whirlwind relationship has found them living together.  Ella knew Dan had two children, Grace and Ethan, and had already formed a relationship with them both. What she hadn’t anticipated was those relationships changing when she moved in…  Throw into the mix Dan’s perfect ex-wife Bryony, his over-bearing mother Pippa and her own sex therapist mother and you can rightly expect some funny and cringe-worthy moments!

This novel gives a lighthearted look at step families and what really goes on behind closed doors.  It shows how hard life can be when you are the step parent, and how looks can be deceiving – a perfect life is not always what it seems.  It highlights that no matter how hard you try, sometimes it just won’t be enough but it also shows that sometimes you just don’t know what other people think of your efforts.  All step families are different, but I loved the angle taken in this novel – it really shows the good and the bad side to such blended families, and that they cannot always be taken at face value.

If you’re looking for a fun, lighthearted read that explores both romance and family life then this is the novel for you!  Let me know what you think!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you very much to Sapere Books for allowing me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Author Bio

Following a childhood spent writing her first books, most notably, Our Book about Jesus – a self-help guide for fellow young Catholics, and, The Sleepover – a compelling tale of a midnight feast, shockingly intercepted by fictitious parents with badly drawn hands, Patricia Caliskan always liked to play with words.

Patricia first saw her name misspelt in print aged 17, interviewing hungover rock stars and illegible actors for an Arts and Entertainment magazine. After graduating from the University of Liverpool, Patricia joined Trinity Mirror Newsgroup, working as editor across a portfolio of lifestyle magazine titles.

Patricia likes a good pair of boots, wearing perfume with her pyjamas, and laughter. Lots of laughter. Because without it life feels far too grown up for her liking. Told with mischievous humour, Patricia’s stories explore family dynamics, office politics, and the divergent roles of women throughout their lives.

Girlfriend, Interrupted is Patricia’s second novel: her first, Awful by Comparison, will be reissued by Sapere Books this summer. 


*BLOG TOUR* Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M Byrne

Mary Rosie's War - Cover

Today it my pleasure to bring you Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M Byrne as part of her blog tour.

WW2 has been declared. A strange find on the beach gives Mary Rosie the chance to fulfil her dreams and contribute to her country, but all is not what she imagined.

After witnessing the first bomb to be dropped on mainland Britain, Mary watches her friends leave to join the forces and longs to be with them, but is held back by loyalty to her widowed mother.

France has capitulated. Johnny Allan’s regiment has been annihilated by German troops north of Paris. Johnny has to find a way to get home and to the girl who no longer waits for him.

Leisel is a German Jew who lost her family to the Nazis and has to make her way in Britain, a strange new country, while harbouring a desire for revenge.

Their lives become entangled in a way that no one could have envisaged.

A story about war, family ties, love, loyalty and loss.

As you are all aware, I love World War II historical fiction, particularly when it focuses on the plight of women during that era.  That is why I jumped at the chance to be a part of this blog tour and read this lovely book.  I must admit that I devoured this novel, reading it over a couple of evenings.

The novel focusses on Mary Rosie and other characters who touch her and her family.  I must confess to not having read any of the other 4 novels in the Raumsey series, however I did not feel I was missing anything by not doing so.  This book than therefore definitely be read as a standalone.

Mary is a young woman living in Scotland with her widowed mother.  When the first bomb drops nearby, she witnesses firsthand the death and destruction the war is causing.  She is desperate to follow her female friends into war, but is held back out of loyalty to her mother.  When an opportunity presents itself, Mary Rosie leaves home and signs up to the war effort.

Whilst the novel does follow Mary, it also touches on the lives Chrissie, Mary’s mother, Johnny, her childhood sweetheart and Liesel, a German Jew whose life is crushed by loss as she seeks revenge.  Their stories are intertwined as they each forge their own path through six years of hardship and loss whilst trying to find their way back to family and love.

I found that Mary Rosie’s War really depicted the tragedy of war, but also the amazing determination and hope that existed during such a hard time full of loss and devastation.  The descriptions of pain and love, hope and loss are beautiful and ring true, all set against a Scottish landscape.  This novel was reminiscent of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, a book I read last year that I really loved (check out my review here).

If you enjoy historical fiction then I would definitely recommend Mary Rosie’s War to you, go and grab yourself a copy and let me know what you think!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for allowing me to a part of this wonderful tour, and providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Author Bio

Catherine Byrne always wanted to be a writer. She began at the age of eight by drawing comic strips with added dialogue and later, as a teenager, graduated to poetry.  Her professional life however, took a very different path.  She first studied glass engraving with Caithness Glass where she worked for fourteen years. During that time she also worked as a foster parent.  After the birth of her youngest child she changed direction, studying and becoming a chiropodist with her own private practice.  At the same time she did all the administration work for her husband’s two businesses, and this continued until the death of her husband in 2005.  However she still maintained her love of writing, and has had several short stories published in women’s magazines.  Her main ambition was to write novels and she has now retired in order to write full time.

Born and brought up until the age of nine on the Island of Stroma, she heard many stories from her grandparents about the island life of a different generation. Her family moved to the mainland at a time when the island was being depopulated, although it took another ten years before the last family left.

 An interest in geology, history and her strong ties to island life have influenced her choice of genre for her novels.

Since first attending the AGM of the Scottish Association of Writers in 1999, Catherine has won several  prizes, commendations and has been short-listed both for short stories and chapters of her novels. In 2009, she won second prize in the general novel category for ‘Follow The Dove’ 

In 2016 The Road to Nowhere  won second prize in the Barbara Hammond competition for Best Self Published novel. The follow up, Isa’s Daughter won 1st prize in the same competition the following year.

Although the books follow the fortunes of the same family, they are all stand-alone.

The fifth book in the Raumsey series is  Mary Rosie’s War.

Catherine Byrne lives in Wick, Caithness.

*BLOG TOUR* Mulberry Lane Babies by Rosie Clarke

Mulberry Lane Babies

Today it is my absolute pleasure to kick off the blog tour for Rosie Clarke’s Mulberry Lane Babies.

1941 Mulberry Lane, London. War rages but new life brings new hope.

Times are hard for all on Mulberry Lane as the war rages into yet another year. Desperate times push people into dangerous situations, and the residents of Mulberry Lane are not exempt.

Menacing shadows lurk on dark street corners, threatening the safety of those who are alone and vulnerable. When Peggy’s twins are born early Maureen and Nellie are there to lend a helping hand.  The mothers of Mulberry Lane stick together despite the grim conditions of war torn London and a shadowy fear that stalks their lives. Neighbours and friends look out for each other and new life brings hope and joy to the Lane.

Mulberry Lane Babies is the third in the Mulberry Lane series from Rosie Clarke, and I am pleased to say that I have had the pleasure of reading all three.  I am a huge fan of fiction set during World War II, particularly when it centres on women during that time. It was a period of substantial change for women, as men were drafted up and sent to fight in a war that went on for 6 long years.  With the majority of able-bodied men gone, women were expected to step up to keep things running back home.  Finally, women were given more opportunity to leave their homes and make a difference for their country.

Mulberry Lane Babies continues the stories of Peggy, Jane, Maureen and Anne as they deal with their new lives whilst their men are at war, or lost due to the war.  Each of their lives takes a different turn as the gruelling war continues, and they are forced to push forward with their lives with only each other for support.

I liked the fact that this novel introduced characters that had only briefly been mentioned in previous novels in this series – most notably Ellie.  Ellie had previously been introduced as a young, naive new wife, who just wanted some fun when her new husband left her behind for war.  In Mulberry Lane Babies we learn far more about Ellie and what life has in store for her.

If I have any comments about this series, it would be that you need to read them all, in order.  What you learn about these characters in each novel is so important, and I probably wouldn’t recommend reading them as standalone novels.  This is not a bad thing though.  The character development, and the stories that surround each of them are enthralling.  I already cannot wait for the next instalment in this series.  I know that Rosie Clarke has suggested there may be 4 books in this series, but more if that’s what the readers want – I would definitely be happy with more!  I love to read about characters in a real life historical setting, and the Mulberry Lane series is now exception.  Go and grab yourself a copy of this lovely novel!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📗

Thank you to Rosie Clarke, Aria and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

About the author

Rosie is happily married and lives in a quiet village in East Anglia.

Writing books is a passion for Rosie, she also likes to read, watch good films and enjoys holidays in the sunshine. She loves shoes and adores animals, especially squirrels and dogs.

Follow Rosie

Twitter: @AnneHerries

Website: http://www.rosieclarke.co.uk