Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Blog Tour - review and guest post - Worth Keeping by Susan Mac Nicol

Today we are so excited to be hosting for Susan Mac Nicol and her latest release - 
Worth Keeping. 
For all fans of m/m romance - you do not want to miss out on this book!

Title: Worth Keeping
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group

Nick Mathers pulls Owen Butler from the freezing waters off the Norfolk coast, but Owen’s love can carry Nick back from the edge of oblivion. 

Abused horrifically as a boy, Nick Mathers has come to terms with his existence as a man. Mostly. Other days life seems a little much. Especially when Nick knows he’ll always be alone.

On those days his thoughts turn black. He walks the Norfolk coast and considers the frigid embrace of the waves. And then, one stormy night, he finds someone who’s tasted just that. The beautiful stranger on the beach is near death, and Nick rushes him home to slowly nurse back to health. As he does, he finds a love unlike any other. Owen Butler’s body is as warm as the sea was cold, his heart as big as an ocean. And Owen is a man who swears to repay the favor. Nick can yet be saved from himself, and he will see that he is indeed a man…


Click HERE to read an excerpt 


My Rating = A fabulous five stars!
Read November 2013 and Re-read January 2014

*ARC provided by the author/publishers in exchange for my honest review

Susan Mac Nicol has become one of my must read authors and this is because her books delve into the dark side of life and take the reader on an emotional tsunami of a read that I personally embrace.

Worth Keeping is one such read and touches in the delicate matter of child abuse and how the survivor copes with overcoming said abuse to try and achieve a semblance of normality in their life afterwards.

Nick Mathers has suffered an extreme abusive childhood with no one to protect him. In fact the one person he should expect to protect him was one of the instigators. How could he ever overcome such depth of despair?

The story picks up much later in Nick’s life where he is living a relatively sedate life as a Lighthouse guide on the Norfolk coast. He has his good days but then he has his dark days when his thoughts turn to how to stop the darkness. It was on such a night of contemplation that he found himself on the beach only to come across Owen Butler who has been washed ashore after he himself had turned his thoughts to drastic measures.

Owen had suffered a great loss and had found his days becoming unbearable, hence him being in the sea but for him it was also a turning point when he was washed ashore on Nick’s beach. The story then evolves of both coming to terms with their new found understanding of themselves and each other.

For me this was a meeting of two lost souls and even though at times I was frustrated at them both going from high elation and acceptance of each other to total rejection, it also was a joy to read of the relationship development. It was mainly Nick that instigated the break ups or arguments but after all he had been though then this was understandable and Owen was looking for someone to fill the void his loss had given.

However it’s not all darkness and woeful, there are some humorous parts especially involving Socks who is Nick’s pet monkey. This was a welcome surprise and an original addition. He was so darn cute with his pen knife (which came to be a major saviour later in the story!) The secondary characters also added to the blend of darkness and light, especially Justin (who needs his own story please Ms Mac Nicol?) From the smugglers who dared to bring ashore their booty onto Nick’s beach late at night which turned out to be sex toys ha-ha to the lovable Don, Nick’s adoptive father and his ultimate saviour. As in all good reads we need a villain we love to hate and in this book there is none so hateful than Nick’s ex-boyfriend (loosely termed) Brad. He was absolutely vile and hateful, he had me wanting to punch the kindle. What made it worse to read was to know that there are people out there in our World that exist who are just like him. But that’s also what I loved about this book – it took me from the greatest highs and joy to the lowest of despair and sadness.

It is not an easy read for sure but one I would not have missed for the world. I read this as soon as I received it and I have found myself reading snippets and then the full book again just last week. It had that much of an impact on me. I was also so pleased that the author is donating some of the proceeds to NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) a major UK charity which I strongly support. 

This is an absolute five star read for me and one I would wholeheartedly recommend. It delivers everything a good book should – the emotion of love and loss, the humour of life and some serious romance and hotness interlaced. A definite page turner and one not to miss. 



Controversial subjects in books
I am always interested to read books that feature something unusual or not regularly found in Romance novels. I've read a few really good ones lately, dealing with the theme of hoarding, Stockholm Syndrome, bad skin conditions, amputees, and kidnap and abuse victims. I notice in all of these books that the authors tackle their subject matter with understanding and compassion and teach the reader a little more about what it means to have had a horrific event in your past, or have a phobia or illness.

Of course, I'm one of them, too. I've tackled the instance of female on male rape in my Starlight trilogy, homophobia in Stripped Bare, sexual abuse in Saving Alexander and child prostitution in Worth Keeping. I seem drawn to subjects that aren't perhaps the norm in Romance novels but I'm a realist. Out there are some damaged people in the world, and, of course, damaged people have the right to be in love, find romance and to be happy. So I create these characters that are flawed human beings, and then always create another one so that both can come together and form a whole.

I've noticed readers either take to this or they don't. A lot of my readers enjoy the angst that permeates the pages of my books, and the emotional upheaval as I wreak havoc. I've been told all my books should come with a warning 'Caution. Read this with a box of tissues to hand.' One blogger said I write 'dark and twisted stories' but with a hint of light at the end. Does this hinder my sales somewhat as people think they are perhaps too 'heavy' and can't stomach them? Perhaps. Will it stop me from writing them? That's an unequivocal, “No.” 

First and foremost, writing about subjects I believe in, subjects that are perhaps hidden away in human psyches in the hope that, like an ostrich, if we ignore it and stick our heads in the sand, it will go away. Not so. If there's one thing I know, it's that human cruelty will continue to abide and all we can do is fight it every step of the way.

It's why I chose and my publisher agreed to donate some of the proceeds from Worth Keeping to the NSPCC- National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. They do a sterling job of helping abused, neglected and uprooted children here in the UK and need all the help they can get.

Currently, I’m working on a 'fictional biography' (my own term) with a man in the US who was a victim of same-sex child abuse when he was in the Boy Scouts. The abuser was his Scoutmaster, a man over twenty years older than him in a supposed position of trust and respect. This story is tough to listen to as he relates intimate details of his abuse and his subsequent life choices and the PTSD he suffered as a result. He's been in and out of prison over a period of seventeen years and seen the worst the US penal system has to offer. So this will be another book that is dark and twisted but one I hope will show the positivity and hope in turning a life around. 

I believe in the self and in hope. I believe in the power of positive thoughts. It might not heal everything but we can give it a damn good try.


Susan and her publisher, Boroughs Publishing Group, will be awarding a copy of Stripped Bare and a copy of Saving Alexander to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.



Susan Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, UK, and left for South Africa when she was eight. She returned to the UK thirty years later and now lives in Essex. Her debut novel Cassandra by Starlight, the first in a trilogy, was published last year by Boroughs Publishing Group in the US. Sue’s latest story, Worth Keeping is her third m/m romance.

Sue has written since she was very young, and never thought she would see herself being a Romance writer, being a horror/psychological thriller reader all her life. But the Romance genre is now something very close to her heart and she intends continuing the trend.

Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association here in the UK.

To learn more, visit Susan on her website and blog on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest.


  1. Mandie, thank you for taking part in my book tour and BIG thank you for the wonderful review. I am so pleased you enjoyed Nick and Owen's story (and Socks of course). I know sometimes the themes I write about are a little hard to read about but I hope that the overwhelming message of Hope that people can heal and be together shines through.

    1. My pleasure Susan. I loved this book (and Socks!) Please keep writing as you do - I like my reads with lots of depth and underlying messages that need to be put out there.

      Thank you so very much for letting me host you and for visiting my ickle blog today.

      Can't wait for the pole dancing! hee hee ;)

  2. Loved Saving Alexander...can't wait to be able to read more of Susan's work.

    1. Thank you Karen, I hope you manage to get more of my books on your TBR list :)

    2. Karen I totally agree - Saving Alexander was amazing. Have you read Worth Keeping? If not I would love to gift you a copy purely for posting a comment and showing the Mac Nicol love! Drop me a line at my blog email with your details. (foxylutely@gmail.com)

      Thank you for stopping by today.

  3. What a fab review! Definitely gonna check this out. Thanks for sharing, Mandie!