Category Archives: Pan MacMillan
The Thunder Girls – Melanie Blake
Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita, an eighties pop sensation outselling and out-classing their competition. Until it all comes to an abrupt end and three of their careers are over, and so is their friendship.
Thirty years later, their old record label wants the band back together for a huge money-making concert. But the wounds are deep and some need this gig more than others.
In those decades apart life was far from the dream they were living as members of The Thunder Girls. Breakdowns, bankruptcy, addiction and divorce have been a constant part of their lives. They’ve been to hell and back, and some are still there.
Can the past be laid to rest for a price, or is there more to this reunion than any of them could possibly know? Whilst they all hunger for a taste of success a second time around, someone is plotting their downfall in the deadliest way possible . . .
Being completely honest I was not sure what I was going to think of The Thunder Girls (Pan Macmillan) by Melanie Blake but I need not have worried. This was a real page turner. If like me, you loved the music of the 1980’s you will love this.
When I think of the 1980’s I think of the music and I was close to the music business back then and I could tell you a few hair-raising stories. It was THE decade, colourful and exciting. The same could be said of the very successful The Thunder Girls. Four women who had the pop in the palm of their hands. Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita had it all. They were living the dream and loving it all. And then it came to a crashing end along with the friendships that went with the success.
We have heard it all before about pop bands being successful and then it all ends very suddenly. Now fast forward three decades and would you believe it their old label is trying to get the girls back together again but are the wounds still deep or can they be healed by heading back into the studio to record more songs and rekindle the good old days.
Superb fast paced drama being played out and Melanie Blake takes you on a breath-taking rollercoaster of a ride through the lives of the four women, it has it all, success and break-up, to jealousy and much more. There is a list of characters that reads like a Hollywood blockbuster. Don’t get me wrong this is not just a glitzy look at showbiz but also some rather serious themes run through this book, and if you think of showbiz and success and fame just think of the temptations that can be there and then you will see how deep this novel will go.
There is humour as you would expect in this story and you will judge some of the characters as well as you will like some of the girls but not others. People change over thirty years but sometimes the wounds do not heal as you would expect.
Over 400 pages but you will not want to put this one down in a hurry. The Thunder Girls packs a punch.
Thank you to Megan Denholm (ed Public Relations) for the review copy of The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake
The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake was published by Pan Macmillan and was published on 11th July 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
Rattle by Fiona Cummins
If you enjoy the sort of read that gets your heart racing, then this stunning psychological thriller debut novel Rattle by Fiona Cummins is one book that you will be wanting to read later this month when it is released. Be warned you may want to hide behind the sofa.
Rattle has come with the tag line of scarier than Silence of the Lambs, that is a big statement to make for any psychological thriller, but in Fiona Cummins debut novel this lives up to the billing. This reviewer has read his fair share and more of novels that scared the living daylights out of me. Rattle succeeded in every sense. This is one book that I could not put down and kept me awake long into the night. I wanted more and in each chapter this terrifying story just kept coming. This really will make you blood run ice cold.
The story is set in London’s Blackheath area and both Clara Foyle and Jakey Frith has gone missing and their parents are frantic, what connects them both is terrible bone condition and Detective Etta Fitzroy is now handling the case but there is something sinister going on as now it appears that a sick psychopathic ‘bone collector’ is out there looking for more specimens. A man who is clearly abducting children with bone conditions is shocking in any sense but what is his motivation? This is a very dark and twisting storyline that delves into the dark corners of people and clearly this character wants more but for what purpose? Ok I am deliberately not giving too much away here as this is one storyline you need to discover for yourselves. But there is more going on in the story than just a plain super scary thriller. Add in a Police Detective with issues of her own makes this a chiller of a thriller that has more twists and turns written into this debut novel. It is more than just another serial killer on the loose novel. This killer leads a double life. At this point I will leave it there. Prepared to be scared.
Thank you to Francesca Pearce for the advanced review copy.
Rattle by Fiona Cummins is published by Pan Macmillan and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops from 26th January.
Gone Astray – Michelle Davies
The Last Word Review
I am delighted to be kicking off the Official Blog Tour for the Paperback release of Gone Astray the outstanding debut novel by Michelle Davies.
The story behind Gone Astray is that Lesley Kinnock buys a lottery ticket and to Lesley and her husband Mack shock they win and not just win they actually win the jackpot. Suddenly for them and their daughter Rosie their lives will never be the same again. The impact on the lives of the family are immense and they go public with the win and realise that they have to move and now they have to leave some their friends behind.
On her return from a shopping trip Lesley discovers that her 15-year-old daughter has gone missing. Has Rosie wandered off or has she been taken and does this have anything to do with the family winning a lottery jackpot?
The plot for the story is a believable scenario and the characters just so well written into the script. At 451 pages this is no simple crime thriller. The reader is faced with many twists and turns that you may have trouble putting the book down. That’s a warning from this reviewer. For a debut crime novel it is simply superb. Davies writing is one of an accomplished writer with many books behind her not a debut which makes this something rather special. Look out for sub plots that will keep you guessing as to what really is behind Rosie’s disappearance. As for the ending. Incredible. No clues from me and not even an apology. I want you the reader to discover Gone Astray will and the writer Michelle Davies as I have a feeling that we will be hearing more from her in the future.
There are a number of questions that this book leaves you with and for one after reading Gone Astray would you go public after winning a large amount on a lottery?
I have read many crime novels over the years and many have gone on to become cinema blockbusters I rank Gone Astray up there and would make great TV drama.
Michelle has kindly written a piece (below) for this blog about what she has learnt since Gone Astray was first published.
Five things I’ve learned since being published
I wanted to write a crime novel since the age of 12, after my English teacher in my first year at secondary school set our class the task of writing a story with a mystery theme over three chapters. I loved the task, scored top marks in it, and when Mr OW (his full name was Mr Osborne-Williams, but he preferred the abbreviation, as did we) said I had a talent for writing stories, my ambition was set.
Given it was another 32 years before I actually realised it with my first novel, Gone Astray, you won’t be surprised to learn I had a certain level of expectation about what it would be like to be published. So here are five things I’ve learned so far:
* Holding a finished copy of your book for the first time isn’t as amazing as holding your first child, but it comes close. Especially if the gestation period was quadruple that of your pregnancy and at times the delivery was just as painful. Publishers really should provide gas and air for those final stages.
* You will never tire of seeing your novel on a shelf in an ACTUAL BOOKSHOP. Word of caution though: sniffing the pages, stroking the cover, or sobbing tears of joy as you clasp it to your heaving bosom will earn you strange looks and possible arrest.
* Take any advice offered by published writers – they know what they’re talking about. I’ll always be grateful to Colette McBeth, who advised me to finish writing my second novel before the first was published so I’d have the time and head-space to enjoy the moment. I did (my second novel, Wrong Place, is out on 27 February) – and therefore I did.
* Patience is a virtue. Publishing works to roughly an 18-month calendar and I’m used to working on weekly magazines with daily deadlines, so it took a while to get my head around the fact that while I got my book deal for Gone Astray in 2014 it wouldn’t be published until this year. Now I’m totally in sync with it and have the work temperament of a sloth*.
* The crime reading/writing community is the nicest bunch of people you could ever hope to meet. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the online high fives sent my way over the past few months. So it goes without saying that I’m delighted to be on this blog tour for Gone Astray and thank you for all of your support.
* Well, maybe a sloth on speed. In case my magazine commissioning editors are reading this.
Michelle Davies has been writing for magazines for twenty years, including on the production desk at Elle, and as Features Editor of Heat. Her last staff position before going freelance was Editor-at-Large at Grazia magazine and she currently writes for a number of women’s magazines and newspaper supplements. Michelle has previously reviewed crime fiction for the Sunday Express’s Books section.
Michelle lives in London with her partner and daughter and juggles writing crime fiction with her freelance journalism and motherhood. Gone Astray is her first novel.
For more information on Michelle Davies you can visit her website just use the link here: Michelle Davies
The Official Gone Astray Blog Tour 2016
Losing It by Helen Lederer
Review Date: 9 August 2015
Author: Helen Lederer
Release Date: 12 February 2015
Publishers: Pan Macmillan
ISBN –10: 1447267648
ISBN – 13: 978-1447267645
Available in Paperback, Kindle and Audio.
Authors Website: http://www.helenlederer.co.uk/
The Last Word Review
A wickedly funny, witty debut novel from one of the funniest women in show business
Well this has been a long time coming. One of the Countries best loved Comedienne’s has finally written a debut novel, and this has been worth the wait.
Losing It is a very easy to ready novel that you will find hard to leave alone, it moves along at an easy pace and is packed with laugh out loud moments.
Set in London and the central character Millie who has reached a mid-life crisis a divorcee now facing losing her home, short of money and rapidly short of patience and add to this depressed. Millie was a successful writer as an agony aunt for a Women’s magazine but her star has waned in recent times and now Millie is struggling to cope with her world that seems to crashing all around her, the only thing on the ‘up’ is her weight and here the story really starts.
Out of the blue, Millie has been approached to become the face of a new diet pill and all the fame and more importantly fortune that goes along with this. There is of course one drawback (as there always is) Millie has to lose three stone in three months.
It is impossible not to like Millie and even some of her ‘friends’ as you will discover when you read Losing It. Millie decides to ask for an advance ahead of the weight loss and heads off to foreign shores to visit Mary, her daughter. While there she hopes to pick up a rather nasty illness that will make her weight loss easier if that is at possible. Add to the plot loan sharks who are after their money and various hideous weight loss programmes such as colonic irrigation, laxatives and various other dubious ideas.
When you read Losing It there is a chance that you will lose it, this reviewer read this while in hospital having a major colon procedure so it is at times really very funny and has so many great moments that many will relate to. Though how many will admit to colonic irrigation as an aid to weight loss that point I think we will gloss over quickly.
For a debut novel Lederer has written a charming, at times moving but most memorable a very funny book that is worth visiting.
Meet the Author
Helen is probably best known for her role as the dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous, in which she appeared alongside Jennifer Saunders in all six series of the show as well as creating the ‘girl at the bar’ in Naked Video. However, to many she is known for her unique brand of wit and observational humour. A comedy writer with an extensive portfolio that includes writing and performing her own material, Helen has starred in a great number of top TV comedy and radio shows.
Helen was part of a group of early 1980s comedians, including French and Saunders, the late Rik Mayall, and Ben Elton, who made their names at London’s famous Comedy Store. She was a guest on ITV’s Saturday Night Live with her solo comedy act, as well as performing at the first Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal along with Lenny Henry. TV appearances span such shows as The Young Ones, French and Saunders, Happy Families, One Foot in the Grave, Bottom, Love Soup, Miss Marple, Casualty and Hollyoaks. She plays Miss Bowline-Hitch alongside Bernard Cribbins in the much-loved children’s TV series Old Jack’s Boat. Helen also played Rich Aunt Ruby in Horrid Henry: The Movie.
On BBC radio, she has been a regular panellist on shows including Just a Minute, Quote . . . Unquote, Open Book, A Good Read and Woman’s Hour, as well as writing and performing in two of her own comedy series, All Change and Life with Lederer. Her columns include Woman & Home, the Independent, the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Telegraph, and she is currently the ‘agony aunt’ for Woman’s Weekly. Helen’s comedy books include Coping with Helen Lederer and Single Minding. She’s done a variety of theatre work, following hot on the heels of Julie Walters in Educating Rita, playing Doreen in Alan Bleasdale’s Having a Ball, as well as appearing in The Vagina Monologues, Calendar Girls and The Killing of Sister George in London’s West End, interspersed with many fringe theatre plays.
Losing It is Helen’s first novel released by Pan Macmillan in February 2015.