Monday, 28 March 2022

Book Review: Company Ink by E.L. Lewis

Company Ink
by
E. L. Lewis 
 
Publisher: Cherry Publishing - English

Publication date: 18th June 2021
 
Series: Ink Series #1
 
Genre: Romance
 
Pages: 357
 
RRP: $6.61AUD (Kindle price @ 28/3/22)
 
Format read: eBook
 
Source: courtesy of the publisher
 
My review
 
After Cassie loses her job in event management she is desperate for work, she has a serious shoe obsession that needs funding, so she takes a temporary job as a PA in a law firm. Cassie is immediately attracted to her boss, the charming Adrian, but she also feels some connection  with her other boss, the quietly brooding Blake.
 
Company Ink was a nice, fun story it just didn't have that 'I can't stop reading' factor. Cassie started out sassy and flirty, going after Adrian. She was smart and funny. Then, she just suddenly did a back flip and wanted commitment. Cassie's best friend is getting married and she sees this as her cue to stop playing the field and get serious.
 
Cassie initially comes across as shallow and insincere but as we get to know here she is devoted to her best friend Monique and her cousin Vanessa. She really is a chilled character and I could see why everyone loved her.
 
Both supporting males are charming and handsome and I found it hard to pick a favourite and I enjoyed the tension between Blake and Adrian. It was never clear who Cassie would pick and there were plenty of misunderstandings between the three to keep the story interesting.
 
Love triangles aren't really my romance reading preference. However, I found Company Ink to be a light, fun read perfect for a holiday or beach read.
 
My rating 3 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐
 
About the author
 
I took a creative writing class in high school and quickly fell in love with the craft, but it wasn’t until quarantine, ten years later, that I had the time to actually sit down and put all the ideas running rampant in my mind on paper.

For Company Ink, the title actually came before the plot and voila, an office romance was born! I knew I wanted to incorporate a love triangle in the book where both of the love interests complimented my protagonist’s personality – but in very different ways.

Often in love triangles, one love interest outweighs the other, and for Company Ink, I wanted to keep readers guessing and on the edge of their seats. Who will it be? Adrian or Blake? Readers should expect to experience severe whiplash while reading!
For Cassie’s character, I wanted to write a relatable heroine that was bold, confident and fun but also had flaws – a true modern woman. I wanted to portray the relationships between Cassie, Blake, and Adrian as symbiotic, where they help each other grow into better versions of themselves, step outside their comfort zones, and confront their fears.


Sunday, 27 March 2022

Flash Book Giveaway: A Family of Strangers by Fiona Lowe

 Thanks to the generosity of Harlequin Australia I have one uncorrected proof copy of A Family of Strangers to giveaway.
 
A Family of Strangers
by
Fiona Lowe
 

 About the book
 
With a coveted promotion dangling within reach, the last thing Addy Topic needs to do is waste precious time singing in Rookery Cove's choir. But when she's reminded how much music meant to her late mother, she can't say no. The building pressure raises the ghosts that sent her running from Rookery Cove years earlier - memories she's spent decades keeping hidden, silencing them with work, alcohol and sex.

For Stephanie Gallagher, Rookery Cove was meant to be a new beginning in the slow lane. A place where she and her husband can embrace community, parenthood and evenly share the load. But the sea-change is changing everything. How much longer can they survive as a family?

Brenda Lambeck is finding her feet after the death of her husband when her best friend, convinces her to join the choir. Beloved as a grandmother, Brenda is determined to mend the fraught relationship she has with her daughter, Courtney. But is that even possible when she continues to lie?

In the wake of a spectacular betrayal, three women are forced to face the uncompromising truths about the choices that have shaped their relationships with those they love most. The consequences will shatter their lives and all they hold dear. After such a disaster is rebuilding even possible?
 
Giveaway:
I have one uncorrected proof copy of A family of Strangers to give away.
 
Enter via the form below. (Open to Australian addresses only). Entries close at Midnight on 31st March 2022.
 
This giveaway is now closed and the winner was announced HERE
 
 
 

Book Review: A Family of Strangers by Fiona Lowe

A Family of Strangers
by
Fiona Lowe 
 
How can you know so little about those you love?
 
 
Imprint: HQ Fiction
 
Publication date: 2nd march 2022
 
Genre: Contemporary fiction
 
Pages: 544
 
RRP: $32.99AUD
 
Format read: Paperback
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 
My review
 
In A Family of Strangers Fiona Lowe brings together three women, who would not normally mix, and has them supporting each other and solving problems together.

Set in the small seaside community of Rookery Cove, Tasmania, Brenda is trying to get back on her feet after the death of her husband. She is hoping to connect with her daughter Courtney. Their relationship has always been fragile. Encouraged by her friend Marilyn, Brenda joins the Rookery Cove choir.
 
Stephanie and husband Henry have come to the Cove to start a new life, a more relaxed way of living, with their young son and Henry's 12 year old daughter Zoe. But Steph finds herself doing the lion's share of the parenting and starts to resent Henry and his daughter. She joins the local choir for some me time.
 
Addy is back at the Cove to renovate her late parent's home. Meanwhile she is taking on large amounts of work and the pressure has her turning to alcohol as a release. When new friend, Steph, asks her to join the choir she is torn between friendship and old ghosts.
 
This is such a big book, I tend to shy away from anything over 400 pages because I easily get bored with the characters. However, I was totally immersed in the story of these characters. I loved them all and genuinely cared about their lives.
I am amazed how Fiona Lowe can include a diverse amount of topics that are relevant to women and the story does not sound at all contrived. (I don't think I did a single eye roll).
Some themes included are; alcohol abuse, helicopter parenting, step parenting, relationships after a partner's death, bullying, misogyny in the work place, shaming by social media and infertility.
 
I love the idea of a choir as the glue for the friendships. It's a hobby that is all inclusive and not bound by gender or age.
Each woman has her demons that need to be overcome and I loved the way they supported each other even when they weren't at their best. Forgiveness, acceptance and support are key themes throughout and Fiona Lowe shows how our decisions can impact on family and relationships.
 
Fiona Lowe is a counsellor herself and I like how therapists and counsellors have a sort of ghost appearance in her novels. Their value in society is sometimes overlooked. 
 
My rating  5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
About the author
 
For more about Fiona Lowe see my author interviews:
 
 
 
 

Monday, 21 March 2022

Mailbox Monday - March 21st

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week (or month). I post my new books on the last Monday of the month. EDIT: only just realised the 21st isn't the last Monday of March (life has been crazy this month) 😄 Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday Blog
 

 
Happy Monday!
 
We have had son no. 2 at home with a broken ankle for the last month. He is slowly recovering and goes to see the surgeon again in three weeks to see if he will be able to start load bearing on his foot. He is sleeping in our spare room in a tiny double bed and I am sure he is looking forward to going back to his own place as soon as he can.
 
The Book Fairies were out and about all over Australia leaving copies of The Sky is Everywhere for people to find. These are a couple of the books I left. 
 



There has been an abundance of gorgeous flowers blooming at the moment. These are some I came across on my walks.

              

Books I purchased after reading and loving book #28 in the Stephanie Plum series. These were found at my local Op Shop.
 

 Books Purchased with a Dymocks voucher I was given. The book with the sprayed edges is The Witches by Roald Dahl. 



 Books received during March for review

 
Titles link to Goodreads descriptions

 In a New York Minute - Kate Spencer
 
The Gosling Girl - Jacqueline Roy
 
 
The Understudy - Julie Bennett
 
The Nurses  War - Victoria Purman
 
Rising Dust - Fleur McDonald
 
Sister Stardust - Jane Green
 
Her Time to Shine - Fiona McCallum 
 
What has arrived in your mailbox lately?
 

Friday, 18 March 2022

Book Review: The Postcard from Italy by Angela Petch

 The Postcard from Italy
by
Angela Petch
 
Publisher: Bookouture
 
Publication date: 16th March 2022
 
Genre: Historical Fiction
 
Pages: 375
 
Format read: eBook
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 
My review
 
The Postcard from Italy is a dual timeline historical fiction.
 
1945 - Billy, a gunner with the RAF, is shot down over Puglia, Italy. He is found unconscious by Domenico and together with his grandson Anto they nurse him back to health. Billy has lost his memory and has no idea who he is or how he came to be on the beach. Domenico is becoming frail and Anto secretly wishes Billy, who they call Roberto, will stay. However, both Domenico and Anto are harbouring secrets.

Present day - Susannah's grandmother is in a nursing home and whilst Susannah is clearing out her home she finds a hidden postcard from Italy dated 1947 with professions of love but unsigned. Did her grandmother Elsie have an affair with an Italian soldier?
 
Billy's story in 1945 is narrated in first person and then later through his diary entries. He has forgotten his previous life and feels writing snippets of thoughts could bring back details of his past.
The descriptions of the scenery of Puglia are visceral and the day to day life of the simple country people was amazing to read about.
 
I also enjoyed Susannah's story and how she was eager to find out more about the writer of the postcard and her trip to Puglia held a small romance. We all know those Italian men are pretty hot!!
I was much more invested in Billy's story however I was still intrigued as to how Angela Petch was going to tie it all together. This was executed well and the events that led to Sussannah finding out the full story were quite believable. 

I loved everything about the small country town of Puglia, it's past and present day. The characters were real and heartwarming, the scenery was spectacular and the food was mouthwatering. I almost felt like I was experienced it all firsthand.

My Rating 4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Published by Bookouture, Angela Petch is an award-winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem. 
 
Every summer she moves to Tuscany for six months where she and her husband own a renovated watermill which they let out. When not exploring their unspoilt corner of the Apennines, she disappears to her writing desk at the top of a converted stable. In her Italian handbag or hiking rucksack she always makes sure to store a notebook and pen to jot down ideas.

The winter months are spent in Sussex where most of her family live. When Angela’s not helping out with grandchildren, she catches up with writer friends.

Angela’s gripping, WWII, Tuscan novels are published by Bookouture. While her novel, Mavis and Dot, was self-published and tells of the frolics and foibles of two best-friends who live by the seaside. Angela also writes short stories published in Prima and People’s Friend.

 

Blog: https://angelapetchsblogsite.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaJaneClarePetch

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Angela_Petch 

 

 Follow the blog tour


 


Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Book Review: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

 Wish you Were Here
by
Jodi Picoult
 
What if your dream holiday wasn't what it seemed.... 
 
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
 
Publication date: 25th November 2021
 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
 
Pages: 336
 
RRP: $32.99AUD
 
Format read: Uncorrected Paperback
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher 

 My review
 
Through Wish You Were Here Jodi Picoult expresses the feelings of isolation, loss of control and re-evaluation of life that we all struggled with during the pandemic.
Wish You Were Here is not only a story set during the pandemic it is centred on the pandemic.
 
Diana has her perfect job at Sotheby's art department and she is about to land a major coup; auctioning a painting by Toulouse-Lautrec. I am sure the references to the painting Diana was going to auction and all the information on the painter and the John and Yoko-ish vibe had some deep meaning but I just didn't get it.  
Diana is also certain her boyfriend, Finn is going to propose to her on their upcoming holiday.
 
It's March 2020 and the cusp of the Covid pandemic. Finn, an intern in a New York hospital, is called in to do extra hours at the hospital and he encourages Diana to go on their prepaid holiday alone.
 
Diana arrives on the island of Isabela in the Galapagos just as they are going into a two week shut-down and communication with the outside world is scant. As the weeks turn to months we are taken on an exquisite tour of the island in all its beauty as Diana lives with the locals.

Updates on the pandemic are received through intermittent emails from Finn who is on the front line. Through these emails we see the catastrophe unfold; the horror, the fear and death is real.
Picoult's descriptions of the idyllic island life are captivating and vividly contrasted with life back in New York.
There is a huge plot twist in the middle of the book and I found it hard to recover from this. For me, the remainder of the book was hard to read, Covid is still too fresh and raw. I think if I read it again in another 5 or 10 years I would find myself more invested.

My rating 3 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐

About the author

photo credit: Goodreads
  Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-five novels, with forty million copies sold worldwide. Her last twelve books have debuted at #1 on the New York Times best-seller list, including her most recent, The Book of Two Ways. Five novels have been made into movies. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including the New England Booksellers Award for Fiction, the Alex Award from the YA Library Services Association, and the New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Literary Merit. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband.


 

Monday, 14 March 2022

Book Review: The Magical Girl's Guide to Life by Jacque Aye

The Magical Girl's Guide to Life
by
Jacque Aye 
 
Find your inner power, fight everyday evil & save the day with self-care.
 
Publisher: Ulysses Press
 
Publication date: 21st December 2021
 
Genre: Self Help
 
Pages: 192
 
RRP: $17.95US  $24.95CAN
 
Format read: Hardcover
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Pacific & Court Publicity
 
My review
 
The Magical Girl's Guide to Life is a unique pocket sized book aimed at finding your inner magic and dispelling self-doubt. 

I originally thought this was a middle grade book, just going by the manga style cover, however the book is geared toward a young adult and older readership.
 
Jacque Aye uses scenarios from her favourite anime shows, such as Sailor Moon, Winx Club and cardcaptor Sakura, and explains how these magical girls handled different situations.
 
There are lots of fun exercises, journal prompts and personality tests throughout the book and sections on making friends, expelling self-doubt, caring for yourself, finding love and how to survive a broken heart. I found the book helpful to read a bit at a time, having fun with the quizzes, and learning more about my inner power.
 
Author Jacque Aye is an advocate and vocal supporter of mental health awareness and self-care. The Magical Girl's Guide to Life is a fun little book that will be especially loved by followers of anime and manga readers but will also find a special place on the shelf of any girl who wants their life to be a little less boring and a whole lot more magical.
 
My rating 3 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐
 
About the author
 
Jacque Aye is a therapist-in-training and “Head Magical Girl” of the Adorned by Chi lifestyle brand, Since launching Adorned by Chi in 2015 Jacque has grown her business tremendously, racking in 6-figure sales within the first two years of operation and a development deal within the first five. Adorned by Chi has also worked with the likes of Sanrio, collaborating on a collection for their Small Business, Big Smile initiative. As a leader in the manga and anime space, Jacque has grown her small tight knit community into one that boasts over 100,000 magical beings across social media. She is a vocal supporter of mental health awareness and self care amongst Black women, and advocates for those suffering from social anxiety. In 2020, Adorned by Chi was able to donate $10,000 to the Loveland Foundation. 
 

 
 
 

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Book Review: Dressed by Iris by Mary-Anne O'Connor

 Dressed by Iris
by
Mary-Anne O'Connor

From sheer poverty to high glamour, a story of courage and all-conquering love
 
Publisher: Harlequin Australia

Imprint: HQ Fiction
 
Publication date: 2nd February 2022
 
Genre: Historical Fiction
 
Pages: 480
 
RRP: $ 29.99AUD
 
Format read: Paperback  
 
Source: courtesy of the publisher
 
My review
 
Dressed by Iris is a powerful novel with themes of hope, pride, optimism and rising above adversity. 
 
In a Great Southern Land is one of my all time favourite novels so I was expecting big things from Mary-Anne O'Connor and I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed.
 
Iris lives with her family in the shanty towns of Newcastle. It's 1930 and Australia is on the verge of The Great Depression. The family get by on the mother Agnes' frugalness and the bit of money they get from the father Bob's panning.
The Catholics and the Protestants had a great divide and when Iris falls for local boy John, who is a Protestant, she knows their relationship can never be. However she lives on dreams and hope that one day they can be together.
 
When a job offer on the Sydney Harbour Bridge comes up for Iris's father and brother, the family of eight move to Sydney.
Through this one struggling family Mary-Anne O'Connor has delivered an emotional story highlighting the plight of renters, the high unemployment, anti-eviction riots and political unrest of the time.
 
Amidst a backdrop of poverty Iris discovers she has a flair for fashion design and with her family's help and encouragement she enters the fashion industry, although her path is beset with prejudice and setbacks.
 
I love stories where women push the boundaries for their time. These are the women that helped change attitudes and laws, giving women the right to choose how to live the life.
 
Mary-Anne O'Connor uses real situations from her grandparents' tales which makes this story all the more endearing. Many of the scenes brought back memories of my own grandparents' stories.
 
Dressed by Iris is an inspiring and moving story rich in memorable characters who will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
 
My rating 5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
About the author
 
Mary-Anne O'Connor has a combined arts education degree with specialties in environment, music and literature. She worked in marketing and lecturing and co-wrote/edited A Brush With Light and Secrets of the Brush with artist Kevin Best, her late father.
Mary-Anne lives in a house overlooking her beloved bushland in northern Sydney with her husband Anthony, their two sons Jimmy and Jack, and their very spoilt dog Saxon. This is her seventh major novel.
 
 

Saturday, 12 March 2022

Book Review: Dash and Nikki and the Jellybean Game by Anthony C. Delauney

 Dash and Nikki
and the Jellybean Game
by
Anthony C. Delauney
Illustrated by Chiara Civati
 
Publisher: Mascot Books
 
Publication date: 7th December 2021
 
Genre: Children's Picture Book
 
Pages: 38
 
Format read: Hardcover
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Smith Publicity 
 
My review
 
Dash and Nikki are introduced to a new game by their mother. The jellybean game is a game to nurture patience and working together. Each child is given 10 jellybeans and if they don't eat any in 1 hour they will be given an additional 5 jellybeans and so on each hour until dinner time.
 
Nikki couldn't wait out the hour and ate her jellybeans. Dash went out to play so he wouldn't be tempted, after 1 hour he had 5 more jellybeans and 5 more the next hour. Nikki seeing all his beans was very upset. Seeing his sister upset, Dash gave Nikki 10 of his beans so she could also get more beans under the proviso at the end of the day she give him 12 beans back. (A little lesson on borrowing and interest here). The jellybeans mount up as the hours passed and  at the end of the day the children ate half their jellybeans and saved half for later.
 
Dash and Nikki and the Jellybean Game has important themes of saving, patience and helping each other. The children learn that sometimes delayed gratification can lead to greater rewards.
 
The children enjoyed this rhyming picture book and immediately Dot wanted to play the game. She knew Jay didn't like jellybeans so she would easily get them all. Hmmm maybe we will change it to smarties. 
Dot had a few questions at the end of the book one of which was; What if Nikki ate the 10 jellybeans Dash gave her and then couldn't pay him back? (that's a whole other story about debt recovery). 
 
The author doesn't use money as currency in this book and although the idea of saving jellybeans is fun I think that children understand the concept of money from an early age.
 
The bright illustrations will appeal to children and the rhythm of the text flows well when read aloud.
 
My rating 3 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐
 
About the author
 
Anthony Delauney is a financial advisor in Raleigh, North Carolina, who has a passion for helping families take control of their financial lives. he is also the founder of Owning the Dash, LLC, an organisation dedicated to helping educate and inspire families as they work to achieve their financial goals.
Dash and Nikki and The jellybean Game is Anthony's first book in the Owning the Dash children's series. With the help of his daughter Abbie, and son, Jason, he wrote the book both to entertain children of all ages and to teach them an important financial lesson that will help guide them in years to come.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Book Review: Mercy by David Baldacci

 Mercy
by
David Baldacci
 
The time has come to discover the truth....
 
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
 
Publication date: 1st November 2021
 
Series: Atlee Pine #4
 
Genre: Crime
 
Pages: 400
 
RRP: $32.99 AUD
 
Format read: Paperback
 
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 
My review
 
The fourth and final book in the special agent Atlee Pine series is another adrenaline filled thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat.
 
Atlee and her assistant Carol Blum are once again on the trail of finding out what happened to Atlee's twin sister Mercy, who was kidnapped almost three decades ago. When new information emerges Atlee's determination to find Mercy, dead or alive, is renewed.
I thought I had it all figured out in book #3 and reading this book would just be a matter of confirming my suspicions. Well, did I have that all wrong!
 
This final book is mainly about finding out what happened to Mercy. However, the introduction of a big time criminal, who has a vendetta against the FBI, makes for plenty of nail-biting moments and a shoot-out to rival the Alamo.

Atlee is as tough and unrelenting as ever as she is pitched in the ring for a fight to the death. Assistant Carol Blum really comes to the fore in this book where she not only uses her smarts but also has to endure some deadly situations.

Baldacci includes plenty of backstory which helps refresh the memory and also makes this final book read well as a standalone.

Mercy is not only a chilling, fast-paced thriller it also had me a little teary towards the end. I enjoyed this  final wrap-up of the Atlee Pine, Mercy, series it was well plotted and compulsive reading.

My rating 4 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐




About the author

Credit: Goodreads
David Baldacci is one of the world's bestselling and favourite thriller writers. A former trial lawyer with a keen interest in world politics, he has specialist knowledge in the US political system and intelligence services, and his first book Absolute Power, became an instant international bestseller, with the movie starring Clint Eastwood a major box office hit. He has since written more than forty bestsellers featuring most recently Amos Decker, Aloysius Archer, Atlee Pine and John Puller. David is also co-founder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across the US.
 
 
 
  Author website   ||  Twitter  ||  Facebook  ||  Instagram  ||  BookBub  ||  Goodreads

                    

Friday, 4 March 2022

Author Interview: Fiona Lowe


 
 Today I would like to welcome author Fiona Lowe to The Burgeoning Bookshelf
 
Hello Fiona, Thank you for joining us. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you like to do when you are not writing?
 
Hi! Thanks so much for having me. I’m a distracted wife, a mother of sons—the eldest is about to get married and I have no idea how he got old enough to do that! The youngest is in his final year of university and fingers crossed will soon to be off the family payroll. YAY! I’m also a slave to a cat. I like to knit, read, garden and I am hoping this year to return to travel.

How has the Covid pandemic impacted you as an author, in terms of your writing, motivation and publicity?
 
The first lockdown occurred at the end of my 2020 book tour and writing wise I was saying that I had worked from home for years so there wasn’t a big change. But fast-forward through two years, six lockdowns, a lack of theatre, travel, meeting friends and new people, it did absolutely impact on my creativity because I wasn’t out and about being challenged. It meant ideas were a bit thin on the ground. I think 2021 was tougher than 2020 in terms of motivation and book touring—I missed meeting readers IRL.

Your contemporary novels are primarily about relationships, family and the challenges women face. What inspired you to write about these topics?
 
I’m fascinated by what makes people tick and the choices they make. Modern life with its perceived need to be connected online all the time and the often unrealistic expectations society put on women to juggle a career, a relationship and a family throw up many challenges that threaten to sink us. It makes for great book fodder.

Your latest novel, A Family of Strangers, was released on 2nd March; How did you come up with the idea for A Family of Strangers?

All my books look at different social issues inside families and communities. In A Family of Strangers, I wanted to explore the theme of escape. I used three main characters to do this, all with different versions of the theme. With Steph, I looked at the impact of the mental load women carry for the family on top of their job as a mother, partner and their paid job outside the home. How do you keep all the balls in the air and should you? I also throw in a few other challenges into the relationship, but I don’t want to giveaway spoilers. Currently women in Australia are drinking alcohol at unprecedented rates and I wanted to look at how that can unravel a life. Addy is good at her job, but she’s hiding a lot of pain only she knows she carries. With Brenda, I wanted to mine a mother and daughter relationship that is not as rosy as the media and Mothers’ Day TV advertisements want us to believe. Can a mother be forgiven? Can a daughter?

What would you like readers to get out of A Family of Strangers and how do you think it will resonate with them?

Hopefully some readers might decide to join a choir! But seriously, I write characters who face issues familiar to all women. My characters are flawed and make mistakes, but they grow across the book and learn something about themselves and each other. I hope readers will connect to them and perhaps be more empathetic to the real women in their lives as we try to live our best lives with what we have.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing A Family of Strangers?

Bringing three very different women together who would not have normally spent much time together is always a challenge. I decided to use a community choir as a way to do this. When I started writing A Family of Strangers in 2020, there was a COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon and we all thought we had the virus on the run. We didn’t, and choirs are still not yet singing so I couldn’t visit a community choir and see it in action. Fortunately, I was able to draw on my sons’ school choir experiences, memories of my own and I interviewed friends who had sung in choirs up until March 2020 and were happy to talk about them as they desperately missed singing.

What are you currently reading?

Still Life by Sarah Winman on audio book and I’m loving it!

What’s next for Fiona Lowe? Do you have a new WIP?

I’m currently writing the 2023 novel, which has the working title of The Money Club. It’s due in at the end of April and as usual I am barely at the two-thirds mark. Yikes! Let’s hope it comes together in a rush!

Just for fun....either or?

Tea or Coffee: Both. Coffee at breakfast and tea the rest of the day.
Summer or Winter: Winter! You can always get warm but you can’t always cool down.
Dog or Cat: I better say cat or Pekoe will get her nose out of joint.
City or Country: Country or rural city to live, but I love a big city visit now and then.
Morning Person or Night owl: Morning. I’m falling asleep in my soup by 9pm.
Paperback or eBook: I’ll read a good book in any format.
Ninjas or Pirates: This is a question I have never been asked before. Arrr! I think pirates.

Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with us on The Burgeoning Bookshelf.

Thanks so much for having me!

You can connect with Fiona at the following sites:

Website: http://www.fionalowe.com/http://www.fionalowe.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FionaLoweAustralianAuthor 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fionaloweaustralianauthor/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1210604.Fiona_Lowe

 A Family of Strangers is out now and should be in bookstores all over the country 


About the book

How can you know so little about those you love?

With a coveted promotion dangling within reach, the last thing Addy Topic needs to do is waste precious time singing in Rookery Cove's choir. But when she's reminded how much music meant to her late mother, she can't say no. The building pressure raises the ghosts that sent her running from Rookery Cove years earlier - memories she's spent decades hiding from, silencing them with work, alcohol and sex.

For Stephanie Gallagher, Rookery Cove was meant to be a new beginning in the slow lane. A place where she and her husband can embrace community, parenthood and evenly share the load. But the sea-change is changing everything. How much longer can they survive as a family?

Brenda Lambeck is finding her feet after the death of her husband when her best friend convinces her to join the choir. Beloved as a grandmother, Brenda is determined to mend the fraught relationship she has with her daughter, Courtney. But is that even possible when she continues to lie?

In the wake of a spectacular betrayal, three women are forced to face the uncompromising truths about the choices that have shaped their relationships with those they love most. The consequences will shatter their lives and all they hold dear. After such a disaster is rebuilding even possible?

 Book purchase links

Dymocks: https://www.dymocks.com.au/book/9781489298690

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/a-family-of-strangers-fiona-lowe/book/9781489298690.html

QBD Books: https://www.qbd.com.au/a-family-of-strangers/fiona-lowe/9781489298690/