Thursday, 18 January 2018

The Feed by Nick Clark Windo @nickhdclark #NeedTheFeed @headlinepg @Bookywookydooda

Tom and Kate's daughter turns six tomorrow, and they have to tell her about sleep.
If you sleep unwatched, you could be Taken. If you are Taken, then watching won't save you.
Nothing saves you.
Your knowledge. Your memories. Your dreams.
If all you are is on the Feed, what will you become when the Feed goes down?
For Tom and Kate, in the six years since the world collapsed, every day has been a fight for survival. And when their daughter, Bea, goes missing, they will question whether they can even trust each other anymore.
The threat is closer than they realise...

The Feed by Nick Clark Windo is published in the UK by Headline in hardback on 25 January 2018.

As part of the Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today, he's talking about the books that are important to him in My Life In Books.

My Life In Books - Nick Clark Windo

I’ve spent my life reading indiscriminately. Maybe that’s not the right word, because I would never pick just anything up – there had to be something attractive about it – but I’m unsure what that discrimination was ever about. It might have been the author, the cover, the blub that initially attracted me… One thing’s for sure: I’ve always read irrespective of genre.

In terms of books that have had a lasting impact on my life, I think a lot is simply to do with volume. So many books by Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Elizabeth Strout, Tim Winton, Margaret Atwood…that amount of words is weighty, all those stories have gravity and collectively create a lasting impact without you ever quite realising it. That's partly the beauty of books, isn’t it?

But enough evasion. In terms of trying to pinpoint specific books that have been important to me…here are a clear ten.

Anything by Roald Dahl. By saying that I realise I’ve already blown my ten. But I read them all so many times as a child that they must have melded my brain somehow with all their wonder. If I had to specify two, it’d be Matilda and The Witches. I re-read them a lot. Maybe it’s because those books are about extraordinary things being embedded in normality. In The Witches that had terrifying consequences, and being scared can be a creatively healthy thing as a child. In Matilda, how amazing it was to read about an ordinary child who could do extraordinary things. That gave me hope, I think – again, a pretty healthy thing to have as a child. Also, I had Matilda as a hard-back book and that felt seriously special.

Anthony Horowitz’s Pentagram series left a lasting impression because it was so dark. It felt like really bad things could happen to its young protagonists. Only four books of the five were published, though I understand everything was reworked later in his Power of Five series. Again, there was something powerful about these books as things. The front covers of The Night of the Scorpion and The Silver Citadel especially made these books treasured objects: things to look at and be absorbed by.

Doctor Who. I hold my hands up and confess that I’m entirely dodging being specific about things here. And this is a TV series, of course. Except there were a whole lot of original Doctor Who novels written during the series’ screen hiatus. And they were often brilliant. Like the TV show, it’s imagination unbridled: adventures that can happen anywhere, any-when, and at their heart is heroism: a deep sense of right and wrong (and the grey areas between).

Iain Banks was amazing. With or without the M, he was a supremely effective world creator. Big sweeping situations, built logically and presented vividly, and within them great characters and devious plots. Excession is a stand-out.

Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra was a book I came across by accident and was completely absorbed by. It’s a master-class in storytelling in a story about storytelling. And then it leaps genre. That knocked open a whole world of possibilities for me. I didn’t know that a writer was allowed to do that: to dip into different cultures, to have his characters span different worlds. I’ve never read it again for fear it won’t live up to my memories of it.

Straw Dogs, by John Gray. These books don’t have to be fiction, do they? Because here I found the stuff of fiction…in a political philosophy book. And not just fiction, but science fiction: how he predicted technology might affect how we live, our societies, the very nature of our humanity. It’s profoundly terrifying…but maybe being scared can be a creatively healthy thing for an adult.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Atonement by Ian McEwan, Engleby by Sebastian Faulks and Canada by Richard Ford. I’ve thrown keeping this to ten books out of the window. Here are four books that, at various different points in my life, knocked me between the eyes. High quality – ‘literary’ – prose with seriously engaging – ‘commercial’ – plots, twists and characters. There’s such a huge challenge in reading great books, and the very exciting sense of being granted permission somehow to have a go too. I don't buy into different genres being on different shelves. Sci-fi, crime, thrillers, fantasy…fiction is fiction.

David Mitchell. I love what he’s doing with his novels individually and collectively. (Surely when his many characters span all of his books I don’t have to specify a single favourite book, do I?) An engaging novel is a work-out for the brain: stretching our thoughts with huge stories and varied characters, expanding the boundaries of our personal knowledge and allowing us to empathise with people in situations out of our experience. For me that’s when books become exciting, emotional and thought provoking: when they inspire my imagination which, in turn, changes me. That's the gravity of books, and how they have an impact – on my life, at least.

Nick Clark Windo - January 2018

Please look out for the other stops on the Blog Tour which will feature more guest posts and reviews:

Nick Clark Windo studied English Literature at Cambridge and acting at RADA, and he now works as a film producer and screenwriter. Inspired by his realisation that people are becoming increasingly disconnected from one another, and questions about identity and memory, The Feed is his debut novel. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Follow him on Twitter @nickhdclark 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

What She Left by Rosie Fiore @rosiefiore #BlogTour @rararesources #WhatSheLeft @AllenAndUnwinUK

Helen Cooper has a charmed life. She's beautiful, accomplished, organised - the star parent at the school. Until she disappears.
But Helen wasn't abducted or murdered. She's chosen to walk away, abandoning her family, husband Sam, and her home.
Where has Helen gone, and why? What has driven her from her seemingly perfect life? What is she looking for? Sam is tormented by these questions, and gradually begins to lose his grip on work and his family life.
He sees Helen everywhere in the faces of strangers. He's losing control.
But then one day, it really is Helen's face he sees...

What She Left by Rosie Fiore was published in paperback by Allen & Unwin UK on 17 August 2017, my thanks to Rachel Gilby from Rachel's Random Resources who arranged my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

What She Left is the first of Rosie Fiore's books that I've read, although I do have a copy of her April 2017 release, After Isabella on my to-be-read shelf and I'm determined to get to it soon.
I have been completely and utterly absorbed in What She Left, it's been a real roller-coaster of a read; one of those books that when you put it down you continue to think about the story, eager to get back to it and constantly intrigued by both the plot and the excellently created characters.

Helen Cooper has it all. She's organised and efficient, her husband Sam is lusted after by all of the other school-gate mothers. Her two girls are perfectly turned out, talented and pretty. Her house is spotless, her handbag is tidy and her whole life is planned down to the exact second. Husband Sam is a high-earner, he spends time away from the home on business, safe in the knowledge that he will return to freshly ironed clothes and wholesome meals, and happy that what happens when away on business, stays away on business.

When Helen fails to collect the girls from school, it's a major event. This never happens. When Helen fails to return home that night, or the next day, or the following day, everyone knows that something terrible has happened. When the police inform Sam that Helen has been found, safe and well, he is over the moon. When he learns that she doesn't intend to come home, he is devastated and confused.

Gradually, over the next few months, Sam begins to realise that Helen really wasn't who, or what she claimed to be. He realises that he never knew his wife. It gradually dawns on him that his life has been a lie, just as Helen's has.

Rosie Fiore is a clever writer. The book is structured incredibly well, told in four parts and narrated in different voices; Sam, Helen and Miranda, their daughter. Not only does this allow the reader to learn more about the relationships within this unusual family, it also gives a good glimpse into each character ... and their reliability.

Whilst What She Left does contain mystery and some tension, it's not a crime story. It certainly looks at certain crimes and the consequences of these on both the victim and their family and friends. There's a complexity to this story that adds such a lot to the overall story, and one of the best parts of the novel, for me, was this author's ability to create a character in Sam who is so believable, but actually really not very nice at all.

I'd certainly recommend What She Left, it's pacy and well written with some intricate plot turns and fabulous character creation. I'll look forward to reading more from this author.

Rosie Fiore was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market. Her first two novels, This Year's Black and Lame Angel were published by Struik in South Africa. This Year's Black was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award and has subsequently been re-released as an e-book. Babies in Waiting, Wonder Women and Holly at Christmas were published by Quercus. She is the author of After Isabella, also published by Allen & Unwin.

Rosie’s next book, The After Wife (written as Cass Hunter), will be published by Trapeze in 2018, and in translation is seven countries around the world.

Rosie lives in London with her husband and two sons. 

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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

How To Fall In Love With A Man Who Lives In A Bush by Emmy Abrahamson @BoroughPress #HowToFallInLove

A fresh, hilarious and compulsively readable love story with the most wonderful kernel of truth to it. An uplifting and clever read for fans of Graeme Simsion and Marian Keyes.
Julia is looking for Mr Right, but Ben is more Mr Right-Now-He-Could-Do-With-a-Bath..
You may think you know what kind of novel this is, but you’d be wrong.
Yes, Julia is a single-girl cliché, living alone with her cat in Vienna and working in a language school. And yes, a series of disastrous dates has left her despairing of ever finding The One – until Ben sits next to her on a bench. He’s tall, dark, handsome…
…and also incredibly hairy, barefoot, a bit ripe-smelling and of no fixed abode.
You guessed it – they fall in love, as couples in novels do. But can Julia overlook the differences between them, abandon logic and choose with her heart?
Funny, filthy (literally) and fizzing with life – and based on a true story! – this is the perfect antidote to all those books promising you that Prince Charming lives in a castle.

How To Fall in Love With a Man Who Lives in a Bush by Emmy Abrahamson is published by Borough Press on 25th January in paperback, and is translated by Nichola Smalley. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I had no idea what to expect from this book. I hadn't heard anything about it before it arrived through my letterbox, but the blurb is enticing and I was in the mood for some smiles so welcomed the chance to read this.

What an utter and complete delight it is. The writing is sharp and funny and completely up to date, it's the sort of book that gives that feel-good glow every time you pick it up.

Julia is Swedish, living in Vienna and teaching English as a foreign language in a business school. She's not particularly happy in her job, but continues to pick up extra shifts and teach the pupils that every other teacher tries to avoid. Whilst Julia is an incredibly funny, quirky character, she has an underlying vulnerability and sadness that this clever author incorporates so well amongst the humour.

Julia's last relationship broke down badly and she's pretty socially isolated. She adores filling in surveys on the street, or popping for a hearing test .... because it's free and it gives her the chance to talk to people. Whilst she despairs at most of her students and has little in common with her colleagues, they make up a big part of her life. Under the bravado and quips, Julia is lonely.

One day, Julia meets Ben. Ben is like no other man she's ever known. He has no home, he lives in a bush, he's dirty with a long matted beard, but she likes him. There's a spark between them and it's not long before they are meeting regularly, and then they become a couple.

What follows is the story of Julia and Ben, and their relationship with each other, and with the rest of the world. It's not an easy relationship, it has many downs, but oh so many wonderful ups. It's a heartfelt, emotional and often hilarious story of a very unlikely romance.

Knowing that the author has based this novel on her own story; and that her husband was living in a bush when they met, only makes it more poignant. They say that the truth is stranger than fiction and this author taken her truth and created a wonderful story.

How To Fall in Love With A Man Who Lives in a Bush is blissfully funny and very smart. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it highly.

Emmy Abrahamson was born in 1976. 

She has written four YA books and was nominated for the August Prize in 2012 for The Only Way is Up. When she met her husband he was actually living in a bush. He was barefoot and dirty, but he was also the funniest, happiest and charming person she'd ever met.

How To Fall In Love With A Man Who Lives in a Bush is a fictionalised version of their story, and Emmy's first novel for adults.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Turning For Home by Barney Norris @barnontherun #BlogTour @TransworldBooks @DoubledayUK

'Isn’t the life of any person made up out of the telling of two tales, after all? People live in the space between the realities of their lives and the hopes they have for them. The whole world makes more sense if you remember that everyone has two lives, their real lives and their dreams, both stories only a tape’s breadth apart from each other, impossibly divided, indivisibly close.'

Every year, Robert's family come together at a rambling old house to celebrate his birthday. Aunts, uncles, distant cousins - it has been a milestone in their lives for decades. But this year Robert doesn't want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met - and neither, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. Neither of them is sure they can face the party. But for both Robert and Kate, it may become the most important gathering of all.

As lyrical and true to life as Norris's critically acclaimed debut Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, which won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize and Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards, this is a compelling, emotional story of family, human frailty, and the marks that love leaves on us.

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (11 Jan. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857523740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857523747

I'm thrilled to host the Blog Tour for Turning For Home by Barney Norris on Random Things today. Turning For Home was published by Doubleday / Transworld in hardback on 11 January 2018 and is the author's second novel.

I published my review of Turning For Home here on Random Things earlier in the month. I loved this book, I am positive that it's going to be in my top books of 2018, and yes, it's only January!

You can read the full review by clicking on the link above, but here is a snippet:

"Barney Norris weaves a special kind of magic with his words. Not one single phrase or sentence is superfluous, each one is expertly placed. 
Turning For Home explores how families lose their connections, and the long and often difficult process of bring them back together. This author is incredibly talented and his story is an extraordinary portrait of a family, it is complex, yet compelling and is breathtakingly accomplished."

I was honoured to be invited to the official launch of Turning For Home, held last week at The Bridge Theatre on the South Bank in London. It was such a pleasure to meet the author for the first time and to be part of the celebrations. Turning For Home has had some amazing reviews during this Blog Tour. Barney Norris is incredibly talented and deserves every part of his success.

Barney Norris was born in Chichester in 1987 and grew up in Sussex, London and

A graduate of the universities of Oxford and Royal Holloway, his plays are AT FIRST SIGHT (presented on tour and at Latitude Festival, 2011) and MISSING (Tristan Bates Theatre 2012), and his poetry, stories and other writings have been published in various little magazines. 

He is the co-artistic director of the theatre company Up In Arms (, works as Max Stafford-Clark's assistant at Out of Joint, and has previously worked and trained under Bernard O'Donoghue, Andrew Motion, Jo Shapcott, Thelma Holt, Peter Gill and David Hare, and at Salisbury Playhouse, Oxford Playhouse, the Royal Court and the Bush.

Follow him on Twitter @barnontherun 


City Without Stars by Tim Baker @TimBakerWrites #BlogTour @FaberBooks @laurennicoll_ #CityWithoutStars

The only thing more dangerous than the cartels is the truth...
In Ciudad Real, Mexico, a deadly war between rival cartels is erupting, and hundreds of female sweat-shop workers are being murdered. As his police superiors start shutting down his investigation, Fuentes suspects most of his colleagues are on the payroll of narco kingpin, El Santo.
Meanwhile, despairing union activist, Pilar, decides to take social justice into her own hands. But if she wants to stop the killings, she's going to have to ignore all her instincts and accept the help of Fuentes. When the name of Mexico's saintly orphan rescuer, Padre Márcio, keeps resurfacing, Pilar and Fuentes begin to realise how deep the cover-up goes.

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (18 Jan. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057133833X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571338337

Welcome to the Blog Tour for City Without Stars by Tim Baker, published in paperback by Faber & Faber on 18 January 2017.

I'm delighted to share an extract from the book, here on Random Things today:

It arrives with the storm, approaching floodlights bruising the desert night. Yellow dogs raise their heads, their eyes glittering then going black with the passing lights. The Lincoln Navigator blasts across the wasteland, impaled plastic rustling from its passage, frantic to escape the snare of barbed wire.
The shriek of braking tires sends the dogs scattering into shadows. Trash circles in anxious eddies then disappears with the headlamps. The animals quiver in the sudden silence, paw-ing the ground, greedy and afraid.
Two men get out, silhouetted against desert hills that tremble with the nervous kick of lightning. They open the cargo hatch and heave something into the darkness. There is the crash of cans spilling.
Doors slam shut and the car pulls away.
The dogs nose the storm- crumpled air then cautiously re-emerge, padding silently towards the whisper of settling dust.

Sunlight forces its way through the grime of the windows, dis-turbing a man in his sleep. His arm scouts for a companion, but finds only an empty pillow which he gathers close to his face.
A shower runs in the adjoining bathroom, steam escaping through the open door, examining the detritus of the night be-fore: an empty bottle of tequila, a crowded ashtray; the silver foil of a torn condom pouch.
Hotel rooms.
Contained universes.
Hidden histories for everyone except the people caught within them. The man on the bed is the past. The woman in the shower is the future.
Pilar soaps her black pubic hair, the hot water running out. She turns it off to build up the pressure of the cold jet, tensing her muscles under its challenge; feeling alive again.
Another morning.
Another chance to make things right.

Tim Baker - photo by Colin Englert
Born in Sydney, Tim Baker lived in Rome and Madrid before moving to Paris, where he wrote about jazz.

He has worked on film projects in India, China, Mexico, Brazil and Australia, and currently lives in the South of France with his wife, their son, and two rescue animals, a god and a cat.

His debut novel, Fever City, was published in 2016 and went on to be shortlisted for the CWA's John Creasey New Blood Dagger award and nominated for the Private Eye Writers of America's 2017 Shamus Award.

Follow him on Twitter @TimBakerWrites

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Unbroken by Madeleine Black @madblack65 #BlogTour #MyLifeInBooks

For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented... difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand.
Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will.
Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.
Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage.
In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity. We are not defined by what knocks us down - we are defined by how we get back up.

Unbroken by Madeleine Black was published by John Blake Publishing on April 4 2017 in paperback.

As part of the Blog Tour for Unbroken, I am delighted to welcome the author, Madeleine Black to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are important to her, in My Life In Books

My Life in Books - Madeleine Black

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett  
I can remember reading this whilst still at primary school and is one of the first books that I disappeared into and was totally transfixed by the story. I loved how the relationship between Mary and Colin grew by her telling him stories to take his mind of his illness and how he was once neglected but then thrived under her care and attention.

Anne Frank’s Diary 
This was the first autobiography I ever read and as my father was a holocaust survivor I found it very powerful. I was amazed what people can go through in order to survive but even more amazing was Anne’s attitude to still see the goodness in life. I have worked as a guide when the Anne Frank’s exhibition came to Glasgow and I think it’s easier for people to connect with one person’s story out of the six million that died.

To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee 
I studied this at school and it has stayed with me ever since. It is essentially about ingrained racial prejudice, loss of innocence and judgement. “You never know someone,” Atticus tells Scout “until you step inside their skin and walk around a little”. There is so much truth in that, people are too quick to judge with no understanding

Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl 
This is another book that has had a lasting effect on me and think it should be read by everyone. The description of life in a concentration camp is tough but his observations of humanity are powerful. He shows us that it is our attitude in life that is important and there is always hope.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I didn’t know that people could speak or write about child rape before I read this book. She showed me that it was possible to go on after experiencing trauma and live a rich existence, planting a seed of hope for me. I would have loved to have met Maya Angelou and I use one of her quotes to start my book “I may be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it”

The Courage To Heal by Laura Bass & Ellen Davies
I found this book before I found my voice and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone with everything that I was feeling internally, so much resonated with me. All the effects of my trauma were explained and it started to make sense to me why I felt how I felt. Another beacon of hope

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
I just find that her words speak to me in a place deep inside; they are both beautiful and moving

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle 
After reading this book I realised that everything in life is where we put our attention and I was spending too long in my past and imagining my future which kept me from being truly present. It’s not been easy but I try to keep myself in the present moment, for after all that’s all there ever really is. It’s a book I give to a lot of my psychotherapy clients.

If You Sit Very Still by Marian Partington
I was so moved after hearing Marian speak and then reading her book that she greatly influenced me to share my story too. Her book is about the disappearance and murder of her sister Lucy, by Rose and Fred West. It is about her refusal to be a victim, compassion and humanity.

Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin 
I love memoirs and found this one so moving. The changes he makes in his life are so contrasting, from living in extreme poverty in China living under a dictatorship to one of a world-class ballet dancer. It was a window into a world I knew nothing about and found it fascinating, courageous and inspiring

When You’re Falling, Dive by Mark Matousek
This is a collection of stories from different people who have all experienced trauma and disaster and how they use it to awake and transform their lives. It showed me that life is best lived

The Forgiveness Project, Stories For a Vengeful Age by Marina Cantacuzino
Just a few months after I shared my own story on the Forgiveness Project’s website I was asked if it could be included as one amongst forty in this book. These stories are all very different and are from both victim’s like myself and perpetrators too who have all transformed their lives around through the power of forgiveness.

Looking at my list I can see I'm very attracted to true stories of courage, growth and strength where people transform their lives and I really believe in the power of sharing our stories. They strengthen my own belief that it’s not what happens to us that is important, but what we do with it. It’s about our attitude and mind-set that we bring to a situation and if we really chose to we can get past anything in life.
Madeleine Black - January 2018

The sharing of her story on The Forgiveness Project's website in September 2014, opened many doors for Madeleine in ways she never imagined and the invitations started to pour in. 

She has taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share her story at conferences, events and schools.

She recognises that she was a victim of a crime that left her silent for many years, but has now found her voice and intends to use it. Not just for her, but for so many who can’t find theirs yet. 

She is married and lives in Glasgow with her husband, three daughters, her cat, Suki, and dog, Alfie.
For more info please see her website or follow her on Twitter @madblack65

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine @LivConstantine2 @fictionpubteam @flisssity #BlogTour #MrsParrish

How far would you go to make all your dreams come true?
Amber Patterson is tired of being a nobody: an invisible woman who melts into the background. She deserves more. She deserves a life of wealth, luxury and leisure.
Daphne Parrish is the golden girl of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut. With her model looks, her picture-perfect mansion and her millionaire husband, Jackson, she has everything Amber wants.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive―if she didn't have a plan. Before long, she has become Daphne’s closest friend, and is catching the eye of Jackson. But a skeleton from her past could destroy everything, and if discovered, Amber’s well-laid plan may end in disaster…

The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine is published by Harper Collins in the UK; my thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

I was totally hooked by this book, I read it over the Christmas break and it rarely left my hands.

Oh, Amber Patterson; what an impeccably created monster of a character she is! She's the sort of woman who appals me, yet I find her intriguing and fascinating. She's so manipulative, she's focussed and narcissistic and completely and utterly riveting.

Amber is determined to get a rich husband, and Jackson Parrish fits the bill perfectly. A multi millionaire living in a mansion full of luxury; handsome, intelligent, a business man. He is ideal for Amber. However, Jackson is married, with children. His wife Daphne is beautiful, slim, philanthropic and is the leader of the rich wives club in Bishops Harbour. Amber decides that Daphne will be her target. She will make herself indispensable, she and Daphne will become best friends, and eventually, she knows that Jackson will be hers.

Not once does Amber have a pang of compassion towards Daphne and her children, or guilt about what she is doing. She has a plan, meticulously created and she follows it perfectly, step by step. Anyone who may get in her way is gone. Amber makes sure of that.

There are two parts to The Last Mrs Parrish. The first is Amber's side of the story, and then half way through, the reader hears the same tale, but from Daphne. Have you ever changed your mind completely about a character? Well you will when you start to read Daphne's narrative. Slowly and surely, things fall into place until there's the most enormous clang and God damnit you realise you've been had!

Such of tension, The Last Mrs Parrish is not your usual thriller story, it's far far more than that. It's an incredibly well created story of greed and manipulation, along with betrayal and hidden secrets. I spent the latter part of the book with my mouth open and my eyes growing wider and wider as I read more.

The Last Mrs Parrish is a thoroughly entertaining and quite addictive read. It is pacy, gripping and thought-provoking, and the character creation is expertly done. A brilliant premise, I loved it.

Liv Constantine is the pen name of sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. 
Separated by three states, they spend hours plotting via FaceTime and burning up each other’s emails. 
They attribute their ability to concoct dark story lines to the hours they spent listening to tales handed down by their Greek grandmother. 
THE LAST MRS. PARRISH is their debut thriller. 

Visit their website at 
Find them on Twitter at

Do we need a Genre for ‘Older’ Readers? - Guest Post from Claire Baldry @ClaiBal @older_readers

I'm delighted to welcome author Claire Baldry to Random Things today. 
Claire is the founder of the Facebook Group and website; Books for Older Readers, which I've been part of since it began some months.

Books For Older Readers website has been created by Claire Baldry who is one of the featured authors. It is intended to be a resource for readers in mid-life and beyond who are looking for novels which they might enjoy. It is not an attempt to be agist or to put reading tastes into set compartments. We fully understand that reading tastes can vary enormously regardless of the age of the reader.  Heroes/heroines in the books on this site tend are generally 'older', though this is not always the case. Suggestions come from writers  who are members of the Books For Older Readers Facebook Group

If you are an author, and you would like to submit your book to be included on this website, please note that this is an entirely free service intended to be of use to readers and authors. We do not post books when they are only available for 'pre-order'. The easiest way to submit a book is to join the facebook group and use the messenger service. If you have any queries, feel free to ask.

Do we need a Genre for ‘Older’ Readers?
Before I finally wrote my first novel, I spent over thirty years of my working life in primary education. And anyone who has been involved in teaching young children knows how important it is for our youngest pupils to learn to sort and categorize. We encourage them to group bricks according to colour and shape, then introduce them to Venn Diagrams which place a vast variety of items into more and more inter-related and sophisticated groups. Sorting and categorising are major tools for the human brain to make sense of the world.
So it is hardly surprising that, in adult life, most readers and publishers choose to place books into genres. These categories help the reader find the type of book they are seeking. A genre sets up expectations about what sort of content might be found within the pages.
But what do you do when the type of book you are writing, or wanting to read does not fit in any one genre? Books often contain complex narratives with multiple themes. They are not always a neat fit into one category.
The problem is even greater if the main genre for a novel doesn’t even exist...and the market seems  resistant to accept a new category. In this post I am referring specifically to novels which appeal to older readers, particularly women. We have children’s books, chicklit, young adult fiction, crime and suspense, horror, but where is the term which helps readers in mid-life and beyond find the themes which will especially appeal to them? Attempts in the past to introduce such a genre have largely failed. Over the past twenty years or so phrases such as ‘ Boomer Lit’ and ‘Gran Lit’ have appeared in the press, but have not really taken up a place in our bookish vocabulary.
One book blogger said to me “I have been harping on about this for ages, but nothing ever seems to happen”. 
We could speculate for years about why there is no genre for older readers. The working population, including the publishing world, tends to be made up of people below retirement age, and this could well be a factor. Also, ‘older’ readers do enjoy a wide range of books, because they know what it feels like to be young.  But you have to experience being older to really understand what that feels like. My late Dad lectured me about this endlessly, but it is only now I am in my sixties that I begin to see what he meant.  Moreover, in western society, we tend to avoid the word ‘old’. We bury it behind euphemisms such as ‘senior’, ‘mature’, or ‘of a certain age’.
The daft thing about this gap in genres is that people in mid life and beyond often have more time to read and more money to spend on books. It makes commercial sense to market books towards ‘my’ age group.
And guess what? ‘Older readers’ are fitter, and healthier, than they have ever been. They want to be recognised in their own right. Literary themes, such as second chances, late life career changes, retirement, bereavement, and love in later life. …. are growing in popularity. Our time may just have come!
So if you feel even a tinge of sympathy with my views, (maybe you are in mid-life or beyond, or simply looking for inspiration for books to buy or recommend for an older relative or friend), then please drop into our growing facebook group, or take a glance at our developing website. We don’t plan to go away anytime soon. 

Claire Baldry - January 2018 

Claire Baldry is a retired primary headteacher who lives on the East Sussex coast. 
Her debut novel ‘Different Genes’ about love in later life was published in October 2017.
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