Sister Of Mine CoverI’m an only child, and the offspring of two other only children so the opportunity to observe at first hand the joys and tribulations of sibling relationships has been pretty non-existent.  My grandparents had many siblings however; and I recognised that in their families there was an emotional intensity to the reactions between siblings, both in terms of unconditional love and in some cases, long held feelings of jealousy and dislike. I always wondered what it would be like to have a brother or sister myself and enjoyed books such as Little Women and TV dramas such as the Walton’s so I was intrigued to read this month’s second offering and todays blog tour entry, Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou, published by No Exit Press ( on the 20th June.

Hattie and Penny Grayson are sisters who have grown up in a small town. Everyone knows their troubled histories, but no one can know of the secret that binds them together. There is a fire, and someone dies, albeit a cruel and overbearing husband. Who is responsible and why? This shapes their future relationships with those they meet and each other.

This debut thriller was a very enjoyable read. Engrossing and thought provoking; I did, as the cover suggested, burn through it. There is a steady build-up of tension and a feeling of impending crisis throughout. The characters are very well described, and you feel you have great insight into their personalities and motivations because of this and the insights the slow drip of background history gives.

There was , I felt,  an interesting twist in perspective towards the end of the book , which I don’t want to spoil for other readers but I will say it changed my view of the main characters entirely and kept me mulling over the story and the effect a character being the narrator has on your perception of what is the ‘truth’. History is written by the victors as they say.

Despite sibling rivalry being a theme which has long been in our consciousness, with Cain and Abel , Romulus and Remus and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane to name a few disastrous relationships , this book to me felt fresh and not cliched. There were two strong female characters in lead roles, with the men playing minor, villainous or subservient parts.

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Laurie Petrou

There is a matriarchal  onus to the book with the memory of a deceased mother constantly shaping the sister’s behaviour. There were some moments of dark humour too.

This Canadian author Laurie Petrou’s (  first book, her day job is an associate professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, at its Media School. She’s also the director of the Masters of Media Production program at the school too. In 2016 she won the Inaugural Half the World Global Literati Award, which honours unpublished works by female authors, featuring female protagonists, for Sister Of Mine. She Lives in a small town in Ontario’s wine country with her winemaker husband and their two sons.

Overall, I was surprised this was Petrou’s literary debut as it felt so assured. Also given its size coming in at two hundred and fifty pages, it won’t take up too much room in your luggage. I myself am looking forward to seeing what she produces next. Will it  top this Sister Act?


Reviewed by:     Georgina Murphy


This review is apart of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought, visit their blogs listed below. Then if you pick up a copy and read it, comeback and tell us what you thought, we’d all love to hear your feedback.

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What Lies Around Us CoverThere are numerous types of ghosts, such as your everyday run of the mill apparitions or the noisy Poltergeists who go around unseen making loud banging noises as if they are blindfolded and keep bumping into the furniture. Then there are the famous ghosts such as Peter Lerangis, Andrew Neiderman, H.P. Lovecraft, Raymond Benson and Andrew Crofts. You’re probably wonder where they haunt and how come you’ve never heard of these so-called famous phantoms. That’s because they are ghost-writers and thus very few of their works are even credited to them. These are the unsung heroes who turn other aspiring writers and celebrities’ ramblings into tightly woven best sellers.

The last name I mentioned; Andrew Crofts, is an internationally acclaimed ghost-writer who was even referenced in Robert Harris’s 2007 book The Ghost. This month’s second book review is one of Andrew’s own books, it’s called What Lies Around Us and is published by Red Door Publishing ( on the 13th June.

When ghost-writer Andrew Crofts is contacted by dot com billionaire Roger Rex to ghost write a book for Hollywood actress Jo-Jo Win, he is bowled over. Firstly, with the money on offer to complete the project and by the numerous legal hoops that Roger’s Lawyers have him jump through before he can start.  When he heads to California to meet the books subject and research her life, he is immersed in a world of cutting-edge social media, politics and Hollywood celebrities. But as he starts getting to know his subject, he finds himself at the centre of a much bigger power struggle where not even he, his family or friends, have any idea whose really in charge. Can he get the book completed and published without jeopardizing his marriage, family life and his own good name?

My first impressions are that this was like fifty shades without the sex, its full of beautiful people driving Tesla’s and top brand cars, whilst also swanning themselves, and their entourages, around in private jets and helicopters, bedecked from head to toe in leading branded clothing. Also, the similarity to the aforementioned Robert Harris book is very close. The only difference is that the ghost-writers subject isn’t an ex-Prime Minister but an actress.

Overall, I was rather disappointed by the book, there is a whiff of tension running through the whole two hundred pages of this novella, but in the end it falls off a cliff and you are left with a rather limp ending. The only  two real high points namely a high-school shooting in which Jo-Jo’s husband is killed and then Jo-Jo climbing into Andrews bed following the shooting .This then gets leaked to the world via Roger Rex’s social media and just when you think this might have repercussions for Andrew’s marriage, it doesn’t.

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Andrew Crofts

What Lies Around Us is really a guide to how Ghost-writers work and the effect social media and the new dot com millionaires will have on the publishing and political world. You never really get absorbed into the book and most of the time I felt like a casual passer-by.

Another reason for the books failing to hold my attention, could be down to its size, I’m surprised a world-renowned ghost-writer is limiting themselves to novellas and could not deliver a more absorbing and nail-biting thriller with the addition of another hundred to a hundred and fifty pages. This is akin to a someone like Bradley Wiggins or Chris Boardman building a bike then neglecting to put any air in the tyres. Yes, it will go but not very well.

This is English Author and Ghost-writer Andrew Crofts (  fifth work of fiction under his The Ghost cvrown name, the others include Secrets Of The Italian Gardner (2013), Pretty Little Packages (2015), The Fabulous Dreams Of Maggie De Beer (2011) and The Over Night Fame Of Steffi McBride (2008). He’s also written non-fiction under his own name, quite a few of them self-help books on self-publishing, freelancing, finding an agent for your book and ghost-writing. He’s written and ghosted over eighty books for other people most of which he can’t talk about due to confidentiality clauses and Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Overall the book reads easily, but if you want get a better understanding of the life of a ghost-writer, from the pen of one of the world’s leading literary guns for hire, then I would suggest you visit Andrews website or read his book Confessions of a Ghost-writer (2014). Otherwise for a more fulfilling thriller set around the world of ghost-writing I recommend you get Robert Harris’s book or go watch the Roman Polanski  film adaptation starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor.

Reviewed By: Adrian Murphy

This book review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers though visit their pages listed below. Then, if you get a copy, comeback and tell us what you thought. We’d very much appreciate the feedback and also why not follow our pages to see what other books we’ve read and will review in the future.

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The Comedy Club Mystery CoverAlmost every part of the UK has a large seaside resort, which was the mainstay of the British population’s annual two week summer holiday for years. It’s in these places you found donkey rides and men in knotted hankies,sporting sandals with socks (before the fashion police got to grips with the scourge), along with entertainers selling out small theatres in the towns and end of the piers.

The most well-known were Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast, Blackpool on the west coast, Bournemouth and lastly Brighton on the south coast. Following the  the introduction of the package holiday and economy airlines these towns have missed out on the large numbers of tourists that used to flock to there each year. Nowadays for Brighton and Bournemouth, some of the biggest draws are travelling away fans from their fellow premiership clubs and retirement coach parties.

I missed a few things last week too. Luckily not my wedding anniversary. But my friend and Blog tour organiser Anne Cater, may take me off her Christmas Card list after I forgot the date for this month’s first book review and blog tour. The book which is a murder mystery, set in Brighton, is The Comedy Club Murder by Peter Bartram, published by Peter Bartram Partnership on the 24th May.

Colin Crampton is the Crime Reporter for Brighton Chronicle. He’s summoned to his editor’s office one morning to be asked to sort out a pending legal writ against the paper’s theatre critic, Sydney Pinker. But before he can find a way of getting out of this job, theatre agent Daniel Bernstein, is found murdered and Pinker is now enjoying the luxuries of the local nick after being discovered at the scene of the murder holding the sword impaling the victim’s body.  Pinker claims he’s innocent and that the murder may have something to do with the disappearance of  a blue book of gags belonging to the late well-known comedian Max Miller, who was one of Bernstein’s clients and now Crampton has a list of five suspects; all comedians. With the help of his feisty Australian girlfriend Shirley, can Colin find the killer, the blue books and clear his colleague Pinker’s good name?

Another thing I missed this week was the whole punchline of this book, if there was a punchline. Maybe it was the mood I was in, which should have been a great one. But I’m sorry to say despite being in great form all round, what with my own annual holidays, a week on the Amalfi coast only a week away, I was just not getting this book.

Yes, there was always the feeling that I was one tickle away from splitting my sides open at the hair-brained antics contained within the covers , but then on the other hand, I don’t like my murder mysteries to be treated with too much flippancy and this is where I think Peter Bartram’s book lost me. It felt at times more like a Carry-On Film, when really murder mysteries are supposed to be tense edge of the seat stuff.

Even the books characters are parodies and caricatures. From the gay theatre critic Pinker and the local coppers, to the henchmen who stalk the hero and his antipodean love interest. The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was an Irish character they meet in the sewers under Brighton during one escapade. For an Irish person reading it, this was painful.

This is English author and Journalist Peter Batrams ( 11th book

Peter Bartram

Peter Bartram

in the Crampton of the Chronicle series. The others include Headline Murder (2015), Murder In The Night Final (2017), Front Page Murder (2017), Murder In The Afternoon Extra (2017) and The Tango School Mystery (2018). Peter has also written numerous articles for various magazines and newspapers and ghost written a number of books too on various people and topics.

Maybe you might find the humour in this madcap romp through late fifties, early sixties Brighton. Therefore, head down to your local bookshop and see if Crampton and his Sheila can tickle your funny bone.


Reviewed by: Adrian Murphy