Skip to main content


Second Chance Summer by Phillipa Ashley #Review

  I an delighted to be part of the celebrations for Phillipa Ashley's Summer novel, Second Chance Summer which was published by Penguin on June 6th. From the moment Lily Harper arrives at a remote retreat on the breath-taking Scilly Isles, she is itching to get back to civilisation - and her thriving business. Slowing Down simply isn't in her vocabulary, and so she quickly clashes with the gorgeous but dour Sam who runs the retreat. Just as Lily is about to give up and leave, disaster strikes, and she is involved in an incident that changes her perspective on everything. Lily is no longer sure she wants to return to the life she thought she loved. But will she have the courage to give the retreat, and Sam, a second chance? Praise for the Author ‘Full of genuine warmth and quirky characters’   Woman’s Own ‘Filled with warm and likeable characters. Great fun!’ Jill Mansell ‘Utterly glorious … one of the freshest voices to emerge in women's fiction today’   Cl

The Madonna of Bolton by Matt Cain ** Blog Tour Review**

I am delighted to welcome The Madonna of Bolton to the blog today as part of the celebrations for Matt Cain's novel. Published by Unbound, it is their fastest - ever funded novel, with pledges from David
Walliams, S.J. Watson, and Mark Gatiss, as well as from countries where to be gay is currently still illegal. It has been published to coincide with Madonna's 60th birthday.

Charlie Matthews’ love story begins in a pebble-dashed house in suburban Bolton, at a time when most little boys want to grow up to be Michael Jackson, and girls want to be Princess Di. Remembering the Green Cross Code and getting out of football are the most important things in his life, until Auntie Jan gives him a gift that will last a lifetime: a seven-inch single called ‘Lucky Star’…

On his ninth birthday, Charlie discovers Madonna, and falls in love. His obsession sees him through some tough times in life: being persecuted at school, fitting in at a posh university, a glamorous career in London, finding boyfriends, getting rid of boyfriends, and family heartbreak. Madonna’s music and videos inspire him, and her fierce determination to succeed gives him the confidence to do the same – and, ultimately, to let go of his idol, and find his own voice.

                                                                                  My Thoughts

 This is a great, coming- of- age book which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found it to be touching and funny by turns and particularly appreciated the references to Bolton of the 1970's and 80's. You see Charlie's early life through his eyes and it is only later that you come to see that there are other reasons behind his family's responses to him, which as a child he did not understand. You go through events with him as he grows up and leaves Bolton for Cambridge University and later London. Family always has a pull on his heart.

    Exploring issues of identity and sexuality there are some lessons hidden in there about what is important in life and ultimately, I found it to be an uplifting read. Matt's writing style flows easily and there are numerous cameos which light up the pages. His University friends provide lots of humour, and the later episodes with Charlie's family strike me as a celebration of what it is to be human. Set against the backdrop of his love for Madonna's music, it captures the spirit of an age and I found it to be an exceptionally enjoyable read.

In short: One young man's coming to terms with his self.  

                                                                             About the Author

Matt Cain was born in Bury and brought up in Bolton. He spent ten years making arts and entertainment programmes for ITV before stepping in front of the camera in 2010 to become Channel 4 News’ first ever culture editor. His first novel, Shot Through the Heart, was published in 2014 and his second, Nothing But Trouble, followed in 2015. As a journalist he has contributed articles to all the major UK newspapers and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Attitude, the UK's biggest-selling magazine for gay men, and its sister publication, Winq. In 2017 he was voted Diversity in Media’s Journalist of the Year. He lives in London.

You can follow Matt here: Website   |   Twitter   |  Instagram

Book link: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Matt Cain and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

Check out the rest of the tour!



  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful Blog Tour support xx


Post a Comment

Popular Posts