Book Review: The Age of Misadventure by @JudyLeighWriter @AvonBooksUK


55-year-old Georgie Turner doesn’t need a new man. Her daughter, aunt and sister are the most important people in her life (and the most infuriating). But it seems the older they get, the further apart they drift.

Georgie’s never been a fan of her sister Bonnie’s husband, so when she learns her brother-in-law has been up to no good, Georgie sees an opportunity to bring the women of her family back together. Along with her 21-year-old daughter and 80-year-old aunt, she packs Bonnie into the back of her car and they leave Liverpool to hide out on the coast of Sussex. With the help of some sun, sea and bottle or two of prosecco, this will be an adventure they’ll never forget.

But could the right man find Georgie while she’s stopping the wrong man finding her sister?


I became an instant fan of Judy Leigh when I read her debut novel, A Grand Old Time, so when I was offered an advanced review copy of The Age of Misadventure, I immediately said yes. Judy has a real talent for writing older characters so I was delighted to see that many of the characters in this book were 50+. 

I dunno, I'm starting to think that maybe I'm odd AF. So many people have called Georgie bitter, but I think that's maybe because they can't connect to her experiences? If you haven't had someone you've been in a relationship with for a LONG time hurt you, then maybe you can't relate? Unfortunately, I can relate to her. I know how hard it can be when your trust is broken by a person you dedicated so many years of your life to. It makes it hard to trust again. 

Anyway, the story. I really enjoyed this read. I found this book the perfect late evening/bedtime read. The plot is not too taxing. Bonnie's (Georgie's sister) husband gets himself into trouble, so they decide to take a girls trip away while things blow over. 

My favorite character by far was Nan (Georgie's aunt). She was an absolute howl and I laughed out loud several times when reading her parts. Her character is where Judy's writing really shined. Nan has lived alone for years after the death of her husband Wilf, so it was lovely to see her growing more confident with new people and new places as the book went on. It really reminded me of Evie Judy's first book. 

I almost wish that Nan got more page space because she was such an endearing character. I could relate to Georgie because of her experience but I found Bonnie and Jade (Georgie's daughter) a little hard to gel with. I think this is because their development mostly happened towards the end of the book so it felt a little rushed. I feel like this made it hard for me to change how I felt towards those characters. 

However, for me, those issues didn't change how I felt about the book overall. This story will make you smile and it will make you laugh out loud. If you're looking for an enjoyable read I'd definitely recommend The Age of Misadventure

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Cover Reveal: Death Will Find me by @Ness_Robertson @lovebooksgroup


Finding her husband - the feckless James - with another woman at a 1920s country house party, she demands a divorce. But when his body is discovered in a lonely stone bothy the next morning, Inspector Hamish Rasmussen sees Tessa as his only suspect.

Back in Edinburgh, links to another murder convince Rasmussen of her innocence. He enlists her help and together they set off on a pursuit that will bring Tessa once again face to face with the brutality of war as well as revealing to her the lengths that desperate people will go to in order to protect those they love. 

Will Tessa be able to prevent a final murder or will she become the killer's latest victim?

This book will be perfect for anyone who's enjoyed the work of Catriona McPherson, Sara Sheridan and Jessica Fellowes. 

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Blog Tour Guest Post: The Dark Heart of Dr Binding by #Cull author Tanvir Bush @annecater #RandomThings Tours


Categorized as one of the disabled, dole-scrounging underclass, she is finding it hard to make ends meet. When in her part-time placement at the local newspaper she stumbles onto a troubling link between the disappearance of several homeless people, the government's new Care and Protect Act, and the Grassybanks Residential Home for the disabled, elderly and vulnerable, she knows she has to investigate further... but at what cost to herself and her guide dog Chris?

Guest Post:

The Dark Heart of Dr Binding

The Secret to the Uneasy Feeling You May Get Reading CULL

Monsters exist, but they are too few in numbers to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are…the functionaries ready to believe and act without asking questions. Primo Levi

In 2013 I overheard Iain Duncan Smith on the radio talking about people like me. i.e. disabled, and then unemployed, as ‘economically unviable’. I stopped in my tracks. I had heard that phrase before…where? And then I remembered and I shivered. . In 1930’s Germany the Nazi’s, under a certain Dr Brandt, who had first sterilized and then murdered thousands of children and adults under their T-4 Aktion Plan and it had all happened in plain sight. Disabled children and then adults were rounded up and ‘euthanized’ under the public gaze. Buses collected local people deemed ‘unfit’ – often by their own GPs or family members- and took them to nearby institutions, killing and cremating them on site. Villagers and townspeople could see the smoke from the chimneys and yet there was almost no public reaction or outrage for several years. The inaction was in part due to the exceedingly careful and divisive propaganda used by the Nazi press. In the propaganda, people like me were called ‘useless eaters’. (photo) That is another way of saying ;economically unviable’ by the way.

There it was! I began comparing the propaganda in the lead up to Aktion T-4 Plan and the presentation of disability, the scrounging underclass, the ‘parasites’ of contemporary, austerity Britain. I wanted to address the dehumanising images and language I was seeing and hearing in the media and somehow confront the fear and anxiety that many disabled (and non-disabled) people were experiencing. Was this cruelty, stigma and mismanagement of benefits deliberate? Was this fear justified? And

if it was, how far exactly was this government prepared to go? I looked more closely at the dehumanising process of language and its ominous undertow and found a deeply unsettling and uncanny similarity.

How could I use this research? To allow my prose to flow, I decided to ensure I was steeped in the eye-witness accounts of T 4Aktion and the Nazi ‘functionaries’ I wanted to be able to shut my eyes and picture some of the men and women involved, walking, talking, making decisions. I needed to ‘meet’ them, ‘understand’ them, as far as was imaginatively possible. I mined the list of doctors, many distinguished practitioners, who had taken part in the Aktion T-4 Plan and had, in fact, been proactive in engineering and experimenting on the patients, concocting various ways to kill swiftly on the cheap

Dr Binding emerges:

What is it that makes a doctor allow killing or become a killer himself? I read through the transcripts of the Nuremburg trials and the testimony, in particular of the doctors and nurses who had undertaken to murder their patients. Some seemed unable to accept responsibility for their actions, many citing other figures of authority as the decision makers. Others were unrepentant.

I decided that the doctor in my novel would have the exemplary traits of an excellent medic. He would initially appear to be a man to rely on, to trust. Gradually though the slippage would occur. He would be highly idealistic, then full of pride and eventually it would be his arrogance which would cause his own self-blindness. I studied the real-life case of Dr Brandt, the man behind T4 Aktion a man who was perceived as an idealist.

He was a thoughtful man, an intellectual, and he took his responsibilities as a physician most seriously…He acknowledged his participation in Aktion T-4, made no apology for the program, and declared it to be justified - justified out of pity for the victim and out of a desire to free the family and loved ones from a lifetime of needless sacrifice. (Gallagher, 1990: 257b)

Dr Binding emerged into the world, and alongside him the characters of Nurse Dyer, Robin and of course, Andre; each complicit and each with their own misguided intentions

I knew that my Dr Binding would have been a phenomenal and wise medical man with an almost clairvoyant aptitude for diagnosis. He would be admired. Too much admired maybe, and like a few doctors I have known, he would be a very bad patient, unable to diagnose his own corruption, his own psychopathy.

This also helped me to fictionalise the weighty issue of euthanasia, allowed me to research the T-4 doctors’ methods of killing and from there, design my own, or should I say, my character Dr Binding’s, own, Chiller Bed:

Writing using this technique was not to test my readers’ historical knowledge. I gained personal confidence knowing I was reflecting aspects of ‘real’ people through my fiction and this confidence transferred to my work, giving me personal pleasure. Readers who got the connections might receive an additional jolt of recognition too, like finding a key clue to a crossword, a joke hidden within the text, but more than that I feel the dark truth underlying the fiction might ooze through,, creating unease…raising the hair at the back of the reader’s neck!

Let me know how it feels for you!

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Graphic Novel Review: Blankets by Craig Thompson


Wrapped in the snowfall of a blustery Midwestern winter, Blankets is the tale of two brothers growing up in rural isolation, and of the budding romance between two young lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith, Blankets is a profound and utterly beautiful work.


Towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year, I found myself in an awful reading slump. When that happens I usually pick up a graphic novel, as the change often pulls me out of that slump.

Blankets did that, and more. I haven't felt strongly enough about a book in a while to really suffer from a book hangover, but I knew it was going to happen this time. I enjoyed this graphic novel so much that I read it at a painfully slow pace, taking in every detail in every page. 

The idea of "blanketing" runs throughout the entire novel. There's the snow-covered Wisconsin countryside that provided Craig and his brother with many happy hours of entertainment. There's the suffocating nature of high-school, feeling surrounded by people that you can't relate to. On top of that, while Craig is at school he feels constantly weighed down by the oppressive nature of his Christian teacher. He was told to stop drawing because it was a waste of his precious God-given time. There are also some pretty dark happenings in this part of the book, but I won't talk about them here was a passing mention. Other reviewers have mused that it is because Thompson hasn't really dealt with it properly -- I'd tend to agree. 

Craig can't even escape this oppression when he goes home, as his parents are also strict Christians. Momentary relief comes in the form of a girl he meets at a (Christain) camp. Her name is Raina and Craig becomes besotted with her. Blanketing himself in her love and affection. 

Raina introduces him to the concept of free-thinking, of having an opinion that doesn't always fit with the Bible. 

It was interesting to see how Craig's portrayal of Raina changes as the novel progresses. He seems to draw her differently towards the end. She becomes more and more angelic. As his feelings towards her grow, his feelings for her to replace his faith. On a couple of the pages, she's depicted in an almost Goddess-like way. 

Blankets has been well received because it so accurately portrays the angst we all go through during that period of first love, and that allows the reader to connect deeply to the characters. I really cared about what happened to Craig and I know this story will be one that stays with me for a long time.

If you're looking for an astounding graphic novel to read, you need to pick this one up. If you've never read a graphic novel before (and are not into superheroes), Blankets would be the perfect place to start. 

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Cover Reveal: The Adventurers and the Cursed Castle by @jemmahatt


Today On Go Book Yourself I'm proud to be doing a cover reveal for one of my clients. Jemma messaged me about working on The Adventurers and the Cursed Castle, and when she sent me the synopsis and first chapter, I knew immediately that this was a book I wanted to work on. Not just because I love working on middle-grade novels, but also because I really enjoyed Jemma's writing style.

We worked hard together, tweaking the story until it was perfect. I'm so proud of this book and I'm proud of Jemma for working diligently to make her debut novel the best that it can be. 

When we spoke about the cover, I was delighted to hear that she was commisioning an artist to paint a scene from the book. When she showed me the final artwork, I was stunned at how close it was to what I had in my head. 

So here it is, the cover for The Adventurers and the Cursed Castle:

How stunning is the artwork? It was created by Andrew Smith


A mysterious curse has stricken Kexley Castle for generations ever since Egyptian treasure was transported to Cornwall by a 19th Century explorer. Can four young adventurers reveal the secrets that have been hidden for over a hundred years?

Join Lara, Rufus, Tom and Barney in their first exciting adventure together as they unravel the mystery and race to find Captain Jack Kexley’s hiding place. To succeed, they must discover and solve a series of clues left by their ancestor, ahead of two unwelcome visitors from the British Museum who are determined to get there first!

ORDER THE BOOK (publishing 29th January):
Waterstones | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

About Jemma Hatt:

Jemma Hatt was born near Sevenoaks in Kent. She grew up with a passion for reading and writing short stories, which ultimately led to a degree in English Literature from the University of Exeter. The Adventurers Series was inspired by many childhood holidays to Devon and Cornwall as well as her family’s pet border collies. After having lived and worked in London, New York and Delaware, Jemma currently lives in Kent and is working on the sequel to The Adventurers and The Cursed Castle as well as other writing projects.

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