Skip to content

The Reunion Book Tour – For The Love Of Cats By Roisin Meaney

Roisin MeaneyToday on the book tour and the publication day for Roisin Meaney’s brand new book, ‘The Reunion’, Roisin talks about her relationship with cats.

Growing up, we always had a cat about the place. This was because of my mother – not because she was a cat lover, more because she had (and still has) a huge mouse phobia. To this day, she can’t even say the word; she spells it out, and only then if she absolutely has to. Even if an m-o-u-s-e appears on the television screen, she’ll shriek as loudly as if one had materialised on the floor in front of her.

So there was always a cat around the place. Not in the house, mind – she’d grown up in a family where houses were for people, and yards and gardens were for animals, so our cat of the moment would roam the garden, and use the shed for rainy days. Of course, we’d sneak it into the house the minute her back was turned, and shoo it out when she was due home. We all loved cats, me especially.

In due course we grew up and moved out. For the first few years I lived in a series of rented houses with various combinations of pals, so a pet of any kind really wasn’t practical. As soon as I bought my first house, a cat was top of my to-get list – but before I could source one (or more), they came to me.

I glanced out of my kitchen window one morning, just a few days after moving in, and there was a beautiful young tabby sitting on the sill, gazing in at me. I opened the back door and she scampered down and away. Undeterred, I left out a saucer of chopped-up sausage, and half an hour later she was back – and she wasn’t alone. Her companion was slightly smaller, and black and white. They made quick work of the sausage, and promptly vanished again.

It took about a week for the tabby to step inside, nearly a month for the black and white, but eventually they both settled in and made themselves at home. I enquired around – they didn’t look like strays – but nobody seemed to know who owned them. I took them to the vet and discovered that they were two spayed females. I kept asking people in the neighbourhood, but no owner was ever found for either of them, and they seemed happy to relocate from wherever they’d come from to my house.

I never named them – it somehow didn’t seem right, when I was pretty sure somebody somewhere had given them names already – but a little neighbour decided to call the tabby Tigger, and visitors to the house christened the black and white Tux. They were great pals, but I assumed not siblings. I enjoyed having them around – I lived alone, and I loved to see them dozing on the couch or sunning themselves on the window-sill as I wrote – and thankfully they didn’t seem too interested in bothering the bird population of the neighbourhood.

They’d been with me for several years when I went to Spain for a week, leaving a brother and my father doing duty in my absence. I’d done this several times before and it had worked a treat – one or other of the cat-sitters would call by the house a couple of times a day and feed and water the pair – but this time things didn’t go according to plan. Tux was knocked down on the road one morning, and buried by my father before I got home.

Tigger and I mourned and then recovered, and a few years later I chanced going away again. This time Tigger disappeared, about three days after my departure. I didn’t worry unduly – she was put out at my absence, and would return, I was sure, when I did.

The Reunion

But she didn’t. I never saw her again. I reasoned that she was old – I couldn’t be certain, but I thought she was about fifteen – and it was her time. I missed her; the house felt too big without her, too silent with no more purring.

It took a year before I was able for more cats. This time I chose them. With a friend’s help I found two ginger siblings, a boy and a girl. They were about seven weeks old, and so cute that I wanted to cuddle them to death. I brought them home (thankfully I managed to resist the cuddling-to-death urge) and immediately they became the bosses. For the first few weeks I was run ragged: it was like having two baby humans to look after. They demanded food, scratched the furniture, launched themselves at me anytime the opportunity presented itself. I would corral them in the kitchen at night (along with their litter tray) and retire, exhausted, to bed.

They were one year old in November. They’re pals (most of the time) but they couldn’t be more different. Fred is king of the cuddles, happiest when he’s having his head scratched or his belly tickled. Ginger comes for cuddles on her terms. He’s solid with a shaggy coat: she’s petite with much softer fur. He’ll eat anything: she’s picky. For the first few months I kept them mostly indoors; now they come and go during the day and night through a cat flap I had installed in the wall of the utility room.

They’re merciless killers. Birds, mice, anything that moves. My neighbour to the rear doesn’t talk to me since they decimated his wild bird population last spring. I’m constantly finding dead creatures in the garden, and occasionally in the utility room. (And sometimes they’re not quite dead; just as well I didn’t inherit my mother’s phobia.)

But I wouldn’t be without them. They keep life interesting.

Gory, but interesting.

You can buy The Reunion from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

My Top Writing Tips By Hélene Fermont

Hélene FermontToday on the book tour for Hélene Fermont latest Scandi crime novel, ‘We Never Said Goodbye’, Hélene shares her writing tips.

I write from the heart and always listen to my intuition.

My characters are what matter the most. I plan and research my novels meticulously but if something doesn’t feel right I start all over and don’t give up until it does.

I write where I know no one will disrupt me.
In London I work on my novels in my office between clients and meetings and in Malmö I often write in a small café overlooking the Öresund Bridge and Copenhagen. The view is simply spectacular and very inspiring.

We Never Said Goodbye

I never read other authors books while working on my own as it may distract me and I want to devote my attention to their novels when I’ve completed my own.

I don’t follow trends and write what I want and know works for me.

You can pre-order We Never Said Goodbye from Amazon and will be avaialble to buy from good bookshops from 6th April 2017.

Good Me Bad Me By Ali Land

Good Me Bad Me‘Good Me Bad Me’ is the latest book by Ali Land.

Annie’s mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…

I have read some dark and twisted books in my time, but none of them has stood out to me as much as ‘Good Me, Bad Me’.

It’s such a complex tale written through the narrative of Milly, a young girl who’s mother was a serial child killer and she has to testify against her mother in the very public court case. As Milly moves in with a new family with a new identity, she has to adjust to the life around as well as deal with the memories and emotions on the run up to the trial.

Whilst, reading this book I experienced such a flurry of emotions that it was impossible to put it down. Milly is a complicated character, having being exposed to various types of abuse as well as witness to some of the most horrific things that a child has to see, it’s no wonder she has trouble settling in. The family that she is placed with look perfect but behind closed doors, seem quite troubled. Mike, is her foster parent, but not only that he is her therapist and is helping advise and guide her through the court case and helping her deal with what she has been through. His wife, Saskia is a bit of a sad character, her main interest is yoga and she tries to get along with her only daughter, Phoebe who continuously pushes her away. Phoebe is an unlikable character. She’s a spoilt bully, who picks on Annie, publicly tormenting her whilst pretending to be her friend in the house. She’s jealous of the attention, Milly gets from her parents particularly from Mike and never misses an opportunity to make her feel uncomfortable or unwanted in both school and home life.

Milly has been through so much and I wanted nothing more than for her to able to settle in and finally have the life that she always wanted. A loving family that provided a secure and happy environment where she wasn’t on edge and constantly afraid. But every time, Milly tries to relax, something happens that reminds her of dark times, the run up to the court case, the bullying at the school and it is at these times, we see a different side to the quiet girl.

With her narrative flowing back and forth from past and present tense, Milly clearly tells her story of her traumatic childhood at the hands of her evil mother and this truly does make for disturbing reading. She’s a brave character, who has conflicted feelings, the love and hatred for a troubled parent and why she was exposed to so much.

Cleverly written with dark but sympathetic characters that I did feel a strong empathy for, this book was captivating from the very start. Riddled with deceit, this atmospheric story made for truly dark and unsettling reading that really pulls the reader in, touching on the subject of child abuse, serial killers and multiple personalities, ‘Good Me, Bad Me’ is an explosive story of morals, moving on and a teenage girl trying to piece herself back together and just wanting to be loved.

You can buy Good Me Bad Me from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Good As Gone By Amy Gentry

Good As Gone‘Good As Gone’ is Amy Gentry’s first novel.

Eight years ago, thirteen-year-old Julie Whitaker was kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night. In the years since, her family have papered over the cracks of their grief – while hoping against hope that Julie is still alive. And then, one night, the doorbell rings.

Yesterday I spent my day gripped by Amy’s debut book, an atmospheric and dark tale about every parents worst nightmare, when a child goes missing.

Cleverly the story starts with Anne retelling, the moment her daughter, Julie was taken away 8 years ago and then flashes to present time when Julie suddenly reappears in their life.

As the story flows, it’s seen from the narrative of both Anne and Julie as they settle into their lives together. As they have spent so many years apart and Julie has been through so much, the two women are like strangers and find it hard to be close, as Anne had always prepared herself to believe that her daughter would never return and when she reappears, she finds it hard to adjust especially when she finds that things about Julie don’t make sense and she begins to question whether Julie is really home or is someone impersonating her missing daughter.

Julie is an interesting woman. Having been missing for a number of years, she’s been through an awful lot and has had many demons to deal with. Her chapters alternate between different personas she’s had to become to survive over the years and cleverly with this different characters, you do wonder if she really is Julie.

Right from the start, there is an element of uncertainty in the story, as with Anne you begin to question Julie’s story and different things come to light but as the story progresses, it becomes darker and focuses on the subject of cults with the introduction of a creepy character called John David.

Riddled with suspense and complex characters, ‘Good As Gone’ is an emotionally charged and thrilling story that made for gripping reading, with clever plot twists and confused identities that keeps the reader on their toes, this debut was an exciting read.

You can pre-order Good as Gone from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 6th April 2017.

The Housekeeper By Suellen Dainty

The Housekeeper‘The Housekeeper’ is the latest book by Suellen Dainty.

When Anne Morgan’s successful boyfriend, (who also happens to be her boss), leaves her for another woman, Anne finds herself in desperate need of a new job and a quiet place to recover. Meanwhile, her celebrity idol, Emma Helmsley, is in need of a housekeeper, an opportunity which seems too good to be true. Through her books, website, and blog, Emma Helmsley advises her devoted followers on how to live a balanced life. Her husband, Rob, is a high profile academic and her children, Jake and Lily, are well-adjusted teenagers. On the surface, they are the perfect family. But Anne soon finds herself intimately ensconced in the Helmsley’s dirty laundry, both literally and figuratively. Underneath the dust, grime and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide and Anne’s own disturbing past threatens to unhinge everything.

When Anne discovers that her partner and her boss has been cheating on her, she’s quits her job and decides that she wants to do something drastically different in her life.

So, when she sees an advert for celebrity power couple Emma Helmsley and Rob, looking for a housekeeper, she jumps at the chance. The couple are both well known psychologists but Emma moved away from psychology and branched into household management and organisation, writing books about organisation and has a huge following with her daily notes of motivational and inspirational advice, which Anne has actively followed.

As Anne settles into her new role, she loves being embroiled in the chaotic family, where there is never a quiet moments with their comings and goings and flamboyant parties, but as her time with the family continues, Anne discovers that the family isn’t quite as perfect as the she and the outside world are led to believe.

The story is filled with many interesting and complex characters. I found myself having a strong empathy with Anne, she’s alone in the world having lost her mother as a child and was brought up by her granny who sadly passed away, she has a best friend Jude, but her time is taken up with her twins. So when she begins to work for Emma and Rob, she naturally falls into the role of housekeeper, chef and listener, she finds a place in life and within the family, she feels wanted and has a purpose and has finally gotten the family she always wanted.

She finds herself drawing closer to Rob, a charismatic and handsome man that people are drawn to, instinctively she’s attracted to him, but after time she finds him intriguing as he works on the memoirs of Rowan McLeish, a psychiatrist, who had an unique way of helping his patients and as Rob tells Anne about his findings about Rowan, it brings Anne back to a strange time, as snippets of her childhood come back to her.

Emma, is a wonderful character, her career is to offer advice and be a motivational speaker, on how to be organised but her own life and house is absolute chaos, that’s why she employed Anne. To the outside world, she’s perfect but in real life, she’s scatty, insecure and constantly looking for reassurance. She confides in Anne and is a far cry from the professional persona that she claims.

With a delightfully dark cover, ‘The Housekeeper” is a complicated and twisted tale about lies and deceit. Atmospheric from the start, the story is cleverly written with regulars shocks and unexpected surprises that keeps the reader engaged. With a selection of delicious characters that are all far from perfect, the story is about the complexities of life, the desire to fit in and what you see isn’t always what is true.

You can buy The Housekeeper from Amazon