Foolish Heroines by June Wentland

by Valley Press

I am so pleased to welcome June to my blog today!

  1. Hello June! Thanks so much for chatting to me today. ‘Foolish Heroines’ is your debut novel – how long had you been sculpting the novel before you found the right home for it, and what was that process of publication like?

It took me years to sculpt the novel into its final form. The first draft was quite different to the published book, for instance there were some characters who were edited out. In  my head they still exist going about their business in the story world but nobody in the ‘real world’ knows about them. One of them is a woman called Cooper who’s a jewellery maker. Well, now you know about her too!

The process of publication was exciting. Jo Haywood, my editor, was great. We got on really well from the start and the whole process felt fun and collaborative. That’s probably one of the advantages of being published by a small press.              

  1. What was the editing process like for you – what major changes did the novel go through once accepted for publication by Valley Press?

I thought I’d edited the novel to within an inch of its life before I sent it to Valley Press but of course it still needed more! We started with a ‘structure edit’. Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot that needed doing for this so that was the easy part. Then we moved on to the ‘line edit’. I think we went through this process about three times. This involved my editor going through the whole manuscript suggesting edits and then me making changes. It’s amazing what a fresh pair of eyes picks up especially when those eyes are as keen as Jo’s.

  1. I know you’re not supposed to have favourites, but which character from ‘Foolish Heroines’ was the most fun to write and develop – and why?

Lily. She’s so open to new ideas and develops so much during the story. She’s full of optimism. I think it’s a bit nosy to ask someone their age so I’ve never ‘asked’ Lily how old she is but she’s probably in her eighties. It’s inspiring that after so many years of living a self-denying life she starts to blossom again and not only change her own life but helps other younger women change their lives too.

If you had to spend a day with a character from the book, who would you choose?

Fatima. I’m intrigued by her ‘biographies’. I’m also going to cheat a bit and say that I’d like to spend that time with her in Lily’s forest. It would be so exciting to step in amongst those otherworldly trees and I’d also get to meet Lily who might provide us with one of her incredible mouth- watering picnics. I’d love to know what sugar-apple flummery tastes like and guava and honey tartlets with chocolate marshmallow sauce!

‘Foolish Heroines’ contrasts the strange with the reassuring – you suggest the book should be consumed with a cuppa and a biscuit, but what’s the perfect biscuit pairing for this weird and wonderful tale?

I’m a great fan of marzipan. As far as I know there are no biscuits that incorporate marzipan but I think there ought to be. If you know of a marzipan biscuit,  please let me know or if you’re a keen baker please, please invent one. It would be an unusual biscuit but in a wonderful way!

  1. Lastly, what’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

When I was doing my Creative Writing M.A. at Bath Spa University and I felt stuck with my writing, one of my tutors said that I should disentangle myself from the work and gain distance from it by imagining myself walking along a beach and discovering a chest that’s been washed up by the sea. Inside is my manuscript but it’s been written by a stranger and I’m reading it for the first time. This really helped and I often use this strategy now.


Just Thieves by Gregory Galloway

Published by Melville House

The Blurb

Rick and Frank are recovering addicts and accomplished house thieves who steal to order, as assigned jobs by their boss. Nothing is left to chance. In fact, chance is their biggest fear. They devote much of their time to eliminating chance to ensure that they don’t get caught.

But then they’re sent to an unfamiliar city to break into a home and steal something that seems worthless to them- although they quickly discover that there are others who seem to want it quite badly… and to be willing to do anything to get it.

As Rick and Frank become trapped in a tightening web of greed and violence, they are forced to confront their past and their livelihoods. The narrative builds steadily into a powerful and satisfying climax.

Revelling in its con-artistry and double-crosses, Just Thieves is a nail-biting eerily existential and nourish exploration of the working lives of two unforgettable crooks and the hidden forces that rule and ruin their lives.

My Thoughts

First off I didn’t think I would like the characters of Rick and Frank given their dubious past but actually I couldn’t help myself getting hooked on their stories. The plot bubbles and sizzles with tension and intrigue that keeps you hooked until the end. Whilst primarily this is a story of crime, theft and all round general law breaking the relationship between Rick and Frank is more than friendship, they are forever bonded by their past deeds and future jobs.

Assigned to a job that to them seems worthless, disaster strikes when Frank disappears with the so called prized possession leaving Rick to track him down, leading him to confront his own past demons. Can their friendship over come all the trauma of the past?

The writing is excellent and keeps you engaged, you feel invested in the story and the twists and turns are good. I would recommend this to anyone who likes crime novels (which I do) but also if you like your crime novels that little bit different feel. Just Thieves is a unique read and a very enjoyable one at that.

Many thanks to Tom at Melville House for my copy in exchange for this review. Please check out the other stops on this tour for more reviews!

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

Published by Penguin Michael Joseph – 19th August 2021

The Blurb

Teddy Crutcher has just won Teacher of the Year at the prestigious Belmont Academy, home exclusively to the brightest and the best.

He says his wife couldn’t be more proud- though no-one has seen her in a while.

he’s deeply committed to improving his students. and well aware which ones need improving.

And all he wants is for his colleagues – and the endlessly interfering parents – to stay out of his way.

Oddly, not everyone agrees that Teddy has their best interests at heart.

But will that change when someone receives a lesson to die for?

My Thoughts

Set in an exclusive American private school, full of Ivy League wannabe hopefuls, For Your Own Good is a psychological thriller that grips you from page one. Full of morally bankrupt characters, with top teacher Teddy Crutcher the worst of the lot. Recently awarded Teacher of the Year, Teddy has an agenda, and it is not necessarily for the good of the school, or the students. He is passionate about teaching and does want the best for his students, providing they are likable what he doesn’t like are the interfering teachers and parents who think they know his job better than he does. One thing they all don’t realise is that the scheming Teddy Crutcher is not a man to be crossed. unfortunately for some, they realise far too late.

This is a dark compelling story with a touch of dark humour about it. Each character has been superbly crafted by Samantha, each is aiming high and each has their own agenda. The story is excellently woven together and keeps you hooked until the very end. You champion some characters and despise others, I have to say that Teddy Crutcher is one of the most unlikable characters I have ever come across but it is that that keeps you coming back for more!

I absolutely loved this book, it has an engaging story with superbly written characters. It grips you from the first page until the very end and just when you think you have cracked it the story takes an unexpected turn. This is a book that you will not want to put down, it sucks you in to the lives of the students and teachers of the Belmont Academy and all the disturbing events that happen within it’s walls.

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy in exchange for this review, please do check out other reviews on the blogtour to find out more.

No Number Nine by F J Campbell

Published by Troubador

The Blurb

What do you do when your amazing, beautiful, beloved sister dies? Hide in your room for two years. Sleep with a very, very wrong man. Leave home and start a new life, lying to everyone you meet including your kind employer, your curious friends and the man you love?

Pip Mitchell’s an expert at making seriously bad decisions. But when her past, present and future collide at the Sydney Olympic Games, she’s going to have to decide whose side she’s on – or she’ll lose everyone she loves.

No Number Nine is a coming-of-age story about an 18-year-old girl who has put her life on hold for two years after the death of her sister. Pip leaves her home in England and tries to move forward with her life, taking a job in Germany as an au pair to the von Feldsteins, a family which is full of surprises – and not good ones.

Set in Munich, the story follows Pip for a year as she crashes from one embarrassing, awkward mistake to the next. Finally, as she starts to emerge from her fog of grief, she travels with the von Feldsteins to Sydney where, amid the drama of the 2000 Olympic Games, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Can Pip protect herself and the people she loves? Does she have the courage to tell the truth, even if it destroys her?

My Thoughts

Pip Mitchell is eighteen years old who has left her home in England and headed to Munich, Germany where she has become the au pair to the two younger children of the von Feldstein family. She is also coming to terms with the fact that her sister Holly was killed after being struck on the head by a hockey ball whilst playing for Great Britain just two years earlier. Pip is wanting to move forward with her life but she is carrying a lot of emotional baggage with her, not least the fact she slept with a guy she really should not have.

The von Feldstein’s elder sons play hockey for Germany and are heading to the Sydney Olympic Games where Pip’s past and present threaten to collide exposing her and all her secrets she has tried so hard to keep under wraps. This is a great coming of age story played out with the biggest sporting event in the world as the backdrop and all the competitiveness and ambition that elite sport brings with it.

It is a compelling emotional read that grips you from the first page, it takes you on a journey through Pip’s thoughts and feelings, her secret and her lies to the Olympics and is a great read whilst we enjoy the Tokyo Games!

Many thanks to Helen Lewis at Literally PR for my copy in exchange for this review. If you would like to read more about No Number Nine then please do check out the rest of the blog tour.

Cover Reveal – The Rebel Suffragette

Bookworm Blogger

Hello bookworms!

Today I am very excited to share the cover reveal for Beverley Adam’s debut novel The Rebel Suffragette, out on 30/09/21!

The suffragette movement swept the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Led by the Pankhursts, the focus of the movement was in London with demonstrations and rallies taking place across the capital. But this was a nationwide movement with a strong northern influence with Edith Rigby being an ardent supporter. Edith was a controversial figure, not only was she was the first woman to own and ride a bicycle in her home town but she was founder of a school for girls and young women. Edith followed the example of Emmeline Pankhurst and her supporters and founded the Preston branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union. She was found guilty of arson and an attempted bomb attack in Liverpool following which she was…

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The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry

Published by Penguin

The Blurb

What if your son had murdered someone?

Sarah had always thought of herself and her husband, Tom, as good people. But that was before their son Freddy came home saying he’d dome something terrible. Begging them not to tell the police. Soon Sarah and Tom must find out just how far they are willing to push themselves, and their marriage, to protect their only child…

As the lies build up and Sarah is presented with the perfect opportunity to get Freddy off the hook, she is faced with a terrifying decision…. Save her son…. or save herself?

My Thoughts

Sarah and Tom are an unlikely couple, she is a bohemian artist and he a strait laced actuary but they end up married and after numerous failed pregnancies Sarah gives birth to their long awaited son Freddy. You could be forgiven for thinking this is a happily married couple, but their marriage appears to be based on a succession of lies and when one night Freddy comes home with a dreadful confession that marriage is pushed to its very limits.

The narrative is tense and the suspense builds nicely leading to Sarah having to decide just howler she is willing to go to risk everything for the sake of her son. I didn’t like the character of Freddy but I don’t see that as a negative thing, he is a killer after all and so it is believable that he would commit the crime he has confessed to.

I like how this book makes you question what you would do in this situation, it is thought-provoking but at the same time you are getting drawn into the domestic world of this couple whose lives have been far from idyllic, Freddy’s upbringing was not a happy one either, so can he be forgiven for his crimes? This is a book that will have you asking yourself many many questions!

Many thanks to the publisher and Rob Chilver for my proof copy in exchange for an honest review. Please do check out all the other reviews on the blogtour.

Don’t Let Him In by Howard Linskey

Published by Penguin on 13th May 2021.

The Blurb

Eriston is a small town. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows your name – and your secrets.

Rebecca hasn’t been back in years, but she grew up in the shadow of a sinister local legend. There have always been deaths in Eriston – more than can easily be explained. People dying in their houses, behind locked doors.

Her father, Sean, had warned her of the dangers. Don’t let him in.

When Rebecca returns, she discovers that her father wasn’t willing to let the legend lie. He was on the verge of uncovering the town’s darkest truth.

Sean knew too much. Now he’s dead and Rebecca could be next……

My Thoughts

Rebecca has returned home following the death of her father, she has been travelling the world and now finds herself back in her home town up on the north east coast of England. Her father had been the editor of the local newspaper until it was forced to close due to lack of readership. however, Sean had not ceased working, his obsession was the high number deaths that occurred in such a small town and two of these in particular, the Eriston Rose and another young woman called Katherine, one of his reporters at the time of her murder. Rebecca soon discovers that her father may have been murdered for the information he knew surrounding these deaths and she enlists the help of the local policeman in her quest to find the truth.

From here on in the plot gets twisty and very dark, Rebecca is on the trail of a serial killer but she has no idea how close that trail is going to lead to her own family. I was totally invested in this story and found myself utterly gripped by the superb narrative. The characters are believable and likeable for the most part. The story developed at a great pace and never once did I skim read the text, I wanted to know every little detail that was going on, I was totally hooked and was desperate to know the outcome.

This story is well written, creepy, intense and just a tad scary with a good dose of the sinister thrown in for good measure. The feeling of being watched is never far from your mind and I guarantee you will be double checking the locks on your doors each night. The outcome was satisfying and I felt all the ends tied in very nicely together. There were times when I thought I had cracked the case only to be thwarted on the next page so when the murderer was finally revealed it was a bit of a shocker.

This is the first book I have read by Howard but it will definitely not be the last. I throughly enjoyed it and would heartily recommend it to lovers of crime fiction/thrillers.

Many thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy of the book and thank you for bringing to work of Howard Linskey onto my bookish radar!

Check out the blog tour for further reviews.

Worst.Idea.Ever by Jane Fallon

Published by Michael Joseph.

The Blurb

Lydia and Georgia are so close they’re practically sisters. So when Lydia starts an online business that struggles, Georgia wants to help her – but she also understands Lydia’s not the kind to accept a handout.

Setting up a fake Twitter account, Georgia hopes to give her friend some anonymous moral support by posing as a potential customer. But when Lydia starts confiding in her new Internet buddy Georgia discovers she doesn’t know her quite as well as she thought.

Georgia knows she should reveal herself, but she’s fascinated by this insight into her friend’s true feelings. Especially when Lydia starts to talk about her. Until Lydia reveals a secret that could not only end their friendship but also blow up Georgia’s marriage. Georgia’s in too deep. But what can she save? her marriage, her friendship – or just herself?

My Thoughts

Is there anything we wouldn’t do for our closest friends if they needed help? If your BFF needed a much needed boost you’d help wouldn’t you? But what if that much needed boost backfired so much it actually threatened your entire friendship?


Following lifelong best friends Lydia and Georgia, Lydia is unfulfilled in her job and has aspirations for bigger and better things whilst Georgia is on the cusp of greatness with her set of children’s books about a wallaby who likes to shop. Feeling bad for her friend and in good faith, Georgia sets up a fake Twitter account in an attempt to boost her morale and self belief. initially it is successful, Lydia makes a connection with a new client and she starts to believe the good times are coming. Unfortunately, she begins to share a little too much with her new online friend which turns out to have devastating consequences causing both friends to seriously question their entire friendship. This is a story that really questions if our good intentions are really worth it and if sometimes things are just best left well alone.

I think the characters are fantastic, even Igor the dog takes on a star role, they are painted so well by Jane that they become so relatable, I must admit to taking sides throughout the story, although I won’t divulge on whose side I was on! The unravelling of the story was parallel to the unravelling of the lives of both friends, Georgia’s marriage hits some serious problems whilst the insight into Lydia’s ‘Instagram’ life is sad and really makes you feel sympathy for her, but is it enough to redeem her?

I loved this book so much, it is compulsive, funny but with an air of edginess to it. I read it in just a couple of sittings and is a book I will be telling everyone about.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a proof copy in exchange for this review. Please do check out the other reviews on the blog tour, details below.

The Really Resilient Guide: Surviving and Thriving through Change, Uncertainty and Adversary at Work

By Andry Anastasis McFarlane

Over the past twelve months we have had to adapt our lives to accommodate the ever-changing world we have found ourselves living in due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have had to cope with a changing work situation, whether that has been working from home, increased pressure due to a change in working conditions or being furloughed. The world we now work in has changed beyond all recognition and the uncertainty this has caused has led to higher anxiety levels and has had a severe impact on the mental health of many.

The Really Resilient Guide offers readers a supportive and reassuring way to help them to adapt the the ever changing working environment, it gives out some helpful and handy tips that can help you too readjust to your new working conditions. Andry also shares plenty of techniques you can put in to practice that will help you to cope in stressful working situations.

I really liked the layout of the book, it looks at various obstacles and offers, in a reader friendly manner, solutions, tips and techniques that you can try and teach yourself as and when you need them. It is a book that you can either sit down and read cover to cover, or, dip in and out of as and when you feel the need. It is easy to navigate, user friendly and reassuring, it is like having that comforting voice that you can call on when you feel that little extra help. If, like me, you have been in your current role for many years and need to have a fresh approach to your job then this book can guide you through the process of getting to a place in which you feel happy and content. Alternatively, if you are about to embark on a new role and you would to refresh your outlook to work then again this can help.

About the Author – Andry Anastasis McFarlane is a qualified and experienced executive and management coach, a learning consultant, a facilitator and a keynote speaker. She has worked with various organisations for over 20 years helping them to improve staff and team performance, well-being, enhance communication and develop successful managers, leaders, staff and teams.

Many thanks to @literallypr for my copy.

When They Find Her by Lia Middleton

Published by Michael Joseph.

The Blurb

Naomi always wanted to be a mother. but three years ago, her husband left, taking their child with him. Now, her daughter has come to stay, and Naomi knows it’s her one chance to re-build her family. But the night ends in a terrible accident. And Naomi tells a lie she can never take back: Naomi reports her daughter missing.

Within hours, her home is invaded. Journalists crowd the driveway. Police search the woods at the foot of the garden. Her ex-husband paces the hall. And Naomi can’t look away. Because the only thing worse than the lie she’s told is the truth: she has no memory of what happened that night….

My Views

I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to read and review this excellent debut from Lia. The story appealed to me from the off and from page one I knew that I was in for a literary treat.

We meet Naomi as an anxious mother waiting the arrival of her young daughter for a sleep over, the first time Freya has been entrusted to her mother’s care over night for three years so from the off we know there is an unhappy history, something happened that caused Aiden, the father and ex husband, to remove their daughter from the care of her mother. The secrets of Naomi’s past and her struggles with motherhood are unveiled slowly throughout the story.

The sleep over starts well, Freya is excited to be with her mother and Naomi is content to finally have her daughter back under her roof and in her care but the following morning Naomi wakes to discover that a terrible accident has befallen Freya, not knowing what to do and with her past looming large over her, Naomi phones the police to report her daughter missing, the biggest lie she could ever tell and one she cannot take back. She lies to the police, to Aiden and to the press.

The secret that Naomi is hiding begins to take over her and her guilt forces her to build on the initial lie with more untruths, the story builds, the tension mounts and as the reader already knows what the lie is they too are complicit, giving them a unique role as the story unfolds. You feel as though you are right there in the house with Naomi with it’s suffocating atmosphere waiting for the police to come knocking on the door ready to blow the lie wide open and Naomi’s world apart.

I loved this book, I thought the story was fantastic and even though I felt confused by my feelings for the characters that was no bad thing. The knowing of the lie causes a certain element of unease for the reader which just adds to the tension, they are party to the truth and for me, that is very clever writing. It is a gripping read with a shocking twist and honestly I could not put it down, I needed to know what was going to happen. Would the truth come out? Would Naomi crumble and confess all? This is the kind of book that I want everyone to read and I am happy to shout about it all day long, an excellent debut!!!

About the Author

Lia Middleton is a barrister who specialises in criminal law and offender management. She lives with her husband and two young children in Buckinghamshire. When They Find Her is her first novel.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a proof copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Check out the rest of the blog tour for even more fabulous reviews.