By Jeeves by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Alan Aykbourn @OfficialALW @Ayckbourn #ByJeeves #JeevesWooster #PGWodehouse #Musical #Farce #VirtualTheatre #Theatre #Stage

By Jeeves
By Andrew Lloyd Webber
And Alan Ayckbourn

Rated: ****

I just love theatre and I’ve wanted to see By Jeeves for a long time now, based around the characters of the famous P.G Wodehouse books – Jeeves and Wooster. This is a Musical/Play and it is jolly entertaining. The music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and directed by Alan Aykbourn, both who are masters at their craft. Andrew LLoyd Webber with his music and Alan Ayckbourn with his plays/farces.
The cast includes Martin Jarvis and all the cast play their parts splendidly well. You can buy it on DVD, listen to the soundtrack and see small previews on You Tube. It’s worth a watch. Below you will see the synopsis and review.

By Jeeves cover

Synopsis

At a benefit gala to raise money for a new church steeple, Bertram “Bertie” Wooster is preparing to take the stage. The banjo-playing star is thrown for a loop when he finds his banjo has been stolen! Bertie’s faithful manservant, Jeeves, suggests Bertie tell the story of his adventure to Tot leigh Towers to entertain the impatient audience. Bertie recounts to the audience how he became embroiled in the romances of several dim-witted members of the privileged class. With mistaken identities, romantic entanglement, and the adventures of the upper class, By Jeeves is the quintessential British musical farce.

Review

I just had to write about this play because it simply won’t leave me alone. I have had the song “Half a Moment” stuck in my head for a couple of days now. Anymore and I’ll have to play it on Spotify or play it on my keyboard, since I have the music for it. It is actually a really good song though, as are all the songs in this musical.

This musical, perhaps because it also has Alan Ayckbourn, who is a playwright and an incredibly skilled one at that, is partly play and partly musical. The two mediums meet together and actually rather well. It makes this unique in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s body of work to date as it isn’t song after song to convey the story. It is the spoken word with some background music and songs within it, which together, masterfully tell the story which is based on the books of Jeeves and Wooster by PG Wodehouse. It is very funny, and I do hope one day it will be revived and do a proper UK tour. It’s a play within a play (if you’ve been following my blog recently, you’ll see there’s perhaps a bit of a trend in that here. It does seem to work very well). I feel it would do well to be on tour, when the virus is over and all is safe (it will be one day), as we have The Play That Goes Wrong, which has now got quite a body of work that is incredibly successful and By Jeeves, which came long before that team, is a bit like that, but with all the Jeeves and Wooster humour within it.

There’s fun with props in a clever way and songs that are memorable – more than just Half A Moment. There are clever lines and musically, notes brilliantly forged together, as you would expect. It is all in all feel-good and entertaining as there’s mistaken identities and romance all on a fun adventure that is also done so well with parts addressed directly to the audience. It’s a farce that is done well, so I have absolutely no idea why on earth it should have been a flop when it opened in London, except slightly over long, but not by much. Perhaps it should have toured and could have been more of a success that way with different audiences, or perhaps it was to do with timing, who knows, but what I do know, is it is jolly good and quite simply spiffing.

I watched this online. There are tracks on Spotify and some previews around on YouTube. Do watch out for Cats on You Tube via The Show Must Go On. It is free, but you can donate money to the actors’ fund if you so wish as they are all totally out of paid work at the moment. This is a kind thing Andrew Lloyd Webber is doing to help us stay at home or to stay alert, depending on which part of the country you are in and to help actors too.

I thank Andrew Lloyd Webber and the cast and production team for putting this on and for introducing new people, like myself who had never seen it before and always wanted to, to have that opportunity to watch it and for keeping little snippets of it around. It is also available to buy on DVD.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is working on a new musical – Cinderella and is busy writing the orchestrations of it, as well and his team doing a marvellous job entertaining us all and keeping us all informed on Twitter – @OfficialALW is where he and his team can be found.

 

Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber @OfficialALW #BenElton #LoveNeverDies #AndrewLLoydWebber #FrederickForsyth #GlennSlater #Theatre #Review #VirtualTheatre #Musicals #Books

Love Never Dies
By Andrew Lloyd Webber
Rated 5 stars *****

Love Never Dies

Today I present a review of the sensational follow up to Phantom of the Opera – Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This was a virtual event. Like most musicals, there was also a book produced too. This is however primarily a theatre review, but would give you an idea too as music, lyrics and the written words in a book collide for both art forms.

Composer – Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics – Glenn Slater

Book written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ben Elton and Frederick Forsyth.

Synopsis

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak-shows of Coney Island. In this new electrically-charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar. All that is missing is his love – Christine Daaé.

Christine is struggling in an ailing marriage to Raoul. She accepts an invitation to travel to New York and perform at a renowned opera house. In a final bid to win back her love, the Phantom lures Christine, her husband, and their young son Gustave from Manhattan; to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island, not knowing what is in store for them…

Review

A couple of weeks ago I watched Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber on You Tube. It is the sequel of Phantom of the Opera and is every bit as stunning and attention grabbing as The Phantom of the Opera. It got some bad press, but certainly would not from me. It is set on Coney Island. For those who do not know – Coney Island is near New York and was a place that gained a reputation for fun fairs, circuses, and freak shows. Today, this doesn’t really exist quite in that form, but there does seem to be a fun fair and eateries.

The Phantom has moved from Paris to Coney Island and seems to be controlling it with all its glitz and mystique, but still has an obsession with Christine. The singing is beautiful, the music and lyrics works so well for the story that is being told. There are bits of music and song reminiscent of the times in the opera house in Paris in the first musical about the phantom, but there are plenty of terrific original songs to whet your appetite and really get into as well. The musical is full of life when showing the circus. The set is always sumptuous and at times has an element of fun to it, although always dark. The atmosphere that is created fits every mood and absolutely fits with the storytelling.

There’s shocks and surprises and some almost edge of your seat scenes. This is a musical that swept me away with it and grabbed me and took me into every dark corner, every bit of romance and every bit of emotion. If this is ever on stage, when things return to normal (which they will someday), it would be absolutely be quite the spectacle to see.

I was slow off the mark writing about this. Other life things took over, so it is not available on YouTube anymore, but there are previews and it is available on DVD. So, not all is lost. That is the positive, that you can indeed still watch this spectacular musical.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, every Friday for 48 hours has got creative and kind and is putting on You Tube many of his musicals and concerts under The Show Must Goes On. Pay or do not pay into the actors’ fund, that is up to you. It looks like Cats is the next musical to be streamed.

Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin @julietconlin @bwpublishing @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today, I am also pleased to present the blurb from a great sounding book called Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin. So why not take a look to see what it is all about. Also take a look at what exciting things the publisher is doing too. You will also find a link to be able to purchase the book. Please note, I do not get anything from this.

Sisters of Berlin BT Poster (1) (1)

 

Sisters of Berlin_RGB (2) cover

Blurb

Berlin 2014. The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, and the city is gearing up for a celebration of unity and liberation. But, beneath the surface, are those for whom the divisions and allegiances of the past remain close to home.

In her hushed and leafy corner of Berlin, Nina’s life is a comfortable, conventional one– until her younger sister Marie, a free-spirited writer, is attacked and left for dead.

For Nina, Marie’s brutal demise – and that of her unborn child – tips her own carefully controlled life into a nightmare. Stonewalled by official incompetence and subterfuge,

Nina begins to realise that her sister’s past and the secrets of the once-divided city are connected in unimaginable ways. As she seeks out justice for Marie, Nina becomes caught in a tangle of obsessions, lies and hidden truths that threatens to destroy her marriage, her livelihood and all that she holds dear.

Sisters of Berlin_RGB (2) cover

Author

Sisters of Berlin Juliet Conlin 8 Annette KorollJuliet Conlin was born in London and grew up in England and Germany. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Durham. She works as a writer and translator and lives with her family in Berlin. Her novels include The Fractured Man (Cargo, 2013), The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days (Black & White, 2017), The Lives Before Us (Black & White, 2019).

Buy Link

http://blackandwhitepublishing.com/shop.html

Sisters of Berlin_RGB (2) cover

 

Publisher

Black & White Publishing was founded in 1999 by Managing Director Campbell Brown and Publishing Director Alison McBride. Since then, the business has grown into one of Scotland’s leading independent publishers with over 300 books in print across a variety of genres. Committed to publishing the best books from the most talented writers in the UK and beyond, some of our bestselling authors include Daniela Sacerdoti,  James Robertson, Estelle Maskame, Nick Alexander, Richard Gordon, Alex Norton, Millie Gray, Sally Magnusson and Tony Black. We produce an extensive range of titles, including general non-fiction, biography, sport and humour, as well as selected fiction, young adult and children’s books.

This year, we’ve started an exciting new alliance with PGUK who now provide sales representation for our titles, and GBS continue to distribute our books. Our eBooks are distributed by Faber Factory. Over recent years, our range of fiction has grown following recent eBook successes such as Daniela Sacerdoti’s Glen Avich series, which has sold nearly a million copies to date. These new alliances and our e-book successes are helping us shape and develop the list in new ways to bring more exciting new titles to both local and global markets.

#Review of Letters From the Past by Erica James @TheEricaJames @orionbooks #LettersFromThePast #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour

Letters From the Past
By Erica James
Rated: 5 stars *****

Thud!!! The book hit my doorstep in quite a fashion, life no other. It is incredibly welcome post, rather than the anonymous letters the characters within this book recieve. It is a book I am so excited at being invited by Anne Cater for the blog tour. Today I present my review of Letters From the Past, which is a glorious read from start to finish and is highly addictive. I also thank the publisher – Orion Books for sending me a delightful advance review copy (ARC) of the book.
Here you will find out a bit about the author, the blurb and my review.

 

About the Author

Erica James Author PicErica James is the number one international bestselling author of twenty-two including the Sunday Times top ten bestsellers Summer at the Lake, The Dandelion Years and Song of the Skylark. She has sold over 5 million books worldwide and her work has been translated into thirteen languages.
Erica won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award for her novel Gardens of Delight, set in the beautiful Lake Como, Italy, which has become a second home to her. Her authentic characters are thanks to the fondness of striking up conversations with complete strangers.

Blurb

A compelling story of family, love and betrayal.

Autumn 1962, in the idyllic Suffolk village of Melstead St Mary, four women recieve anonymous letters which threaten to turn their lives upside down – and to unravel a secret that has been kept hidden for years.

Meanwhile, in the sunbaked desert of Palm Springs, Romily Devereux-Temple is homesick for her beloved Island House. But on her return, shocked by events in her absence, she finds herself reluctantly confronting her own long-held secret. Can Romily save the day, and seize some happiness for herself at the same time?

 

Letters From the Past cover

Review

Focussing on the late 30’s/ early 40s, but predominantly the early 1960’s, this is one totally fascinating story of secrets, posion-pen letters and relationships, history. This book has it all I loved it all. This is wonderful book that shows so much life and yet can be read with consummate ease as it has a magic of drawing you into everyone’s lives without a second thought. This is a book that spans across many generations and would appeal to many generations.

The book starts with the scars of the war. The book fascinates me because it mentions about the RAF (my step-great-grandfather was part of the RAF in both world wars). The book also takes readers to Bletchley Park, which has just always interested me.
Then there’s the 1960’s, such an interesting period of time. From beginning to end I just loved this book, it swept me up instantly and carried me away. Time didn’t matter, I was hooked and kept wanting to know more about the people within Melstad St Mary in Sussex and in Palm, Springs and the secrets that mount up.

Poisoned pen letters appear on people’s doorsteps. Every so often you get to see what the accusatory content of these letters are. There are twists and turns and abuses of power to be discovered in this book. It may be set in between the 40’s and the 60’s, but some of the themes feel very current.

Hope is an author and she and Romily helped get a small library off the ground. Again, this makes me smile because I know myself what it takes to do that, as I’ve done that in recent times. Funny how books can resonate with people, and that’s the thing with this book, there is plenty to capture people’s imaginations and plenty that people who did live through certain periods of time, will have memories of.

There are many characters to meet, but they are  nicely split up into short chapters of mostly the main characters, with others being weaved in. The book is just over 500 pages, but it really does not feel it because the chapters are so short, the story so absorbing from beginning to end. There is also the fact that the characters are divinely interesting and the more the book delves into them, the more I wanted to know about them, their lives and why they were getting the poisoned pen letters.

The book begins with Evelyn, such an interesting character with immense secrets from having worked in Bletchley Park. It is interesting seeing Evelyn’s life in the 1940’s and in 1962. There is Isabella, an actress who had finally made it and wasn’t only starring in films, but being recognised. Meanwhile there is Romily, who has impressively hidden a secret for a long time. There’s a love story going on with Stanley and Annelise (He is illiterate and insecure and yet reinvented his life, but still nervous around women. His scars from war and the way his own mother treated him are telling as his life story opens up more, revealing darker beginnings. Red is a Hollywood scriptwriter, but all isn’t well.
There’s also a glimpse into abusive relationships, abuses of power. There are twists and turns in all of the characters lives, no one’s life is straight forward.

This is a glorious book sweeping over history of the world war and 1962. Lots of the events are all mentioned from the storm, to Australia doing a £10 deal to attract UK citizens to set up residency there. It is fun reading about the dance moves to pop songs that were becoming trendy. The book glides along beautifully in its mix of fiction and historical facts and always at the centre of it all are the characters and their lives. I love that Erica James isn’t too heavy-handed on getting every fact down. The balance between fact and fiction is perfect. The story is perfect. This book has made me want to read many more books by Erica James. Of course I’d heard of her and I’d read a couple of years ago and enjoyed them, but this book has compelled me into wanting to read more.

All in all, I highly recommend this brilliant book, which was published just a few days ago.

*Please note, all views are my own and unbiased.

Erica James Letters From The Past BT Poster

 

Olympia’s Dream by Milton Johanides #MiltonJohanides #Cyprus #Greece #Fiction #HistoricalFiction #LiteraryFiction

Olympias Dream
by Milton Johanides
Rated: 3.5 stars 3.5 stars

I would like to thank both Milton Johanides and his wife for asking me to review this book. I first met them in the small community library I currently lead and happened to mention I had a blog. After a conversation with them both, I have happily agreed to write a review. Please note, my review is not biased. I always take books on their own merit, but whilst always remembering the authors, whether I’ve met them or not, are real people too. Opinions are always my own. Although I have rated this book 3 1/2 stars, it isn’t far away from being 4, in my opinion.

About the Author

Milton Johanides was born in the UK and now lives in Scotland. After earning a Classics degree at Bristol University he pursued a commercial career before settling down to become a full-time writer and artist in 2012.

The Cypriot’s Treasure Trilogy is based on his own experiences growing up in London and Cyprus. It is a pulsating tale of bigotry and betrayal set against the turbulent backdrop of Greek, Turkish and Cypriot history.

Links to social media and where to buy the book:
Author Website
Barnes & Noble 
Amazon      

Olympias Dream cover

Blurb

Artie’s beautiful daughter who one day meets the Hollywood star Claudette Taylor and is fired with dreams of fame. World War Two and Germany’s occupation of Greece intervenes and Olympia must adapt to the nightmare scenario which unfolds.

“My mother’s name was Olympia, named after the mountain on which the god’s reside. Her name alone is enough to summon images of immortality, and in her youth she certainly looks like a goddess, or so say those who knew her”

Review

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into this book in terms of quality, but I have to say that it was better than what I was expecting. This is a book of emotion that encompasses psychological states, relationships between characters and of Cyprus and the history it holds.

I was intrigued to know what people are saying about Olympia from the start. The book is set in Cyprus, which in itself, is an interesting island. People who have read Victoria Hislop’s books or visited the island will be very familiar with it.
Olympia’s Dream questions life and becomes rather thought-provoking quite early on. Readers get to see the inner soul and psychological thoughts, almost of the main character – Artie, who is pretty insecure with his wife – Efthimia. Milton Johanides is skillful in immediately letting readers know the mood and temperament of his characters.

Artie is a character, despite perhaps, many flaws is one that can still be empathised with. He shows life isn’t easy and there is heartache. He seems to drive the plot forward, which helps move the story onwards and to create a focus and is certainly, in my opinion one of the more interesting characters.  Where this book is at its strongest is in the emotions and the mental state of Artie. There is quite a bit of inner depth to the characters portrayed. This is perhaps where the strengths of the book really lies, is in the complexities of this character and when the attention turns to the ensuing war.

The book moves onto being a bit about war times and other historical times. Readers can get a glimpse into what Cyprus was like as there as Cyprus does indeed have a fascinating history. There is some interest to be had within those chapters. There’s clearly been a lot of research done to intertwine the factual with the plot lines.

The plot feels like it did lack a certain pace at times, although does pick up in a number of places, which was pleasing, to move the plot onwards and to keep interest going. This book is fairly good and is worth a read and will certainly be of interest to those who also enjoy Victoria Hislop’s books and it is always exciting to discover new authors who are beginning to come into the fore too. It is worth taking some time to read and to discover the characters and Cyprus itself.

 

Heart of the Warrior by Lali. A. Love @laliaristo @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #SupernaturalThriller #Fantasy

Today I am pleased to share something a bit different. I am sharing some content of the book Heart of the Warrior by Lali A. Love. A book that is an emotional tale that has kindness, love and courage as some of its central themes. I am delighted to share this as part of a blog tour I was invited onto by Kelly Lacey at LoveBooksTours. Below, you will also find all the links for the author.

Heart of Warrior angel bt poster

About the Author

Heart of Warrior angel author picAward-winning Author, Lali A. Love provides a supernatural thriller of metaphysical and visionary fantasy with her own revolutionary philosophy and unique narrative skills to produce this heart-wrenching and gripping tale.

Lali A. Love lives in the capital city of Canada with her husband and two beautiful children who are her greatest source of pride, joy, and inspiration. As a debut author, Lali loves to write stimulating, character-based novels that invoke an emotional response in her readers. She has done extensive research into epistemology and metaphysics to further her understanding of the Universal Laws of Energy.

Blurb

HeartofaWarriorAngel-Lali A. Love-Book CoverLilac Noble must face the traumatic experiences of her childhood before she can conquer the dark entities that have wreaked havoc on her family. On this epic journey, Lilac undergoes the destructive process of spiritual enlightenment in order to lift the veil of darkness and shame that has obscured her youth. As Lilac unlocks painful memories of abuse, suppressed in her subconscious from years of fear-based conditioning, she uncovers menacing secrets feeding the evil within her generational bloodline. In an attempt to vanquish the sinister energies, Lilac finds the courage to discover her inner truth, vulnerability, and authenticity, as she awakens her divine light and overcomes her debilitating fears of the past. Lilac’s unconditional love for her family guides her through her process of healing and transformation, fuelling her instinct for survival and her burning desire to illuminate the world.

Spanning two continents and three generations, this inspirational novel portrays the best and worst of humanity and shows how the “tiniest spark of light can overcome the darkness of any magnitude,” through forgiveness, compassion, and the most powerful force in the universe – Love.  

Extract from the book

In her spare time, Lali is committed to writing her visionary fiction trilogy about spiritual transformation. These mystical novels are based on the journeys of three incarnated Angels that have been brought together in the third-dimensional existence, to realize their Divine Feminine soul purpose. Each of them must experience unique self-realization to overcome the dark demonic entities that are determined to destroy their inner light to derail their Soul mission.  

On the eve of her milestone birthday, as Lilac sat in her studio admiring the abstract composition of her landscape painting, she could not help but reflect on her life’s journey over the past years. The textures and vibrant colours of the acrylic paint had provided her tranquillity and were quite therapeutic, especially during the moments she felt emotionally vulnerable. Lately, she had felt the anxiety of her youth that emanated from the post-traumatic stress of her upbringing take a stranglehold of her heart. The acrylic painting had helped her find temporary relief as she expressed her emotions creatively through her art while processing her complicated feelings.

Turning to look out her window, Lilac considered the reality of years gone by as her own reflection mirrored her authenticity. She was approaching her sunset years, as evidenced by deep lines on her forehead and dark circles around her eyes. Lilac pondered the meaning of life and her soul purpose in this world. She realized that she had not been alone in these reflections; these were questions that have mystified humans from the beginning of time. Lilac could not ascertain if she were having a mid-life crisis or a spiritual awakening.

She was standing at a crossroads in her life as unresolved issues from her past had recently resurfaced. Lilac intrinsically knew that she was about to be catapulted into an unknown event; however, she could not rationalize this instinct with her analytical mind. She was feeling discombobulated and confused, stuck between levels of consciousness and her perceived dimensional reality. Before she could move forward, Lilac found herself at a critical junction—she had to face the truth of her childhood and relinquish her victim mentality to truly ascend into a higher spiritual being.

Lilac had been blessed with a keen sense of intuition. Her ability to feel and be in touch with energetic vibrations around her had been uncanny; however, she had spent most of her life trying to ignore these precious gifts. In an effort to keep the darkness at a safe distance, she had been afraid to explore her instincts and their spiritual significance. But lately, the power of her senses had been robust, projecting shards of light in her mind’s eye as she practised her daily meditation.

Lilac had been sensing imminent, foreboding energy about to be revealed and realized that she could not hide from her spiritual ascension any longer. She knew that she needed to face her painful truth once and for all. The universe had been sending her signs for a reason—a call to action to fulfill her soul mission.

Her life journey had not been an easy one, but Lilac strongly believed in good and evil, the existence of a higher power, a divine energy source that surrounded all beings—a form of radiant light emanating from the goodness of human souls. She often thought about creation and had an inner knowing from a very young age that there were two very distinct scientific forces in this world—gravity and love. Lilac had never questioned the power of unconditional love, human kindness, and the sheer force of positive spiritual existence. She believed in karma, in putting out good energy into the vast universe and manifesting it back into her daily life.

Spirituality, for Lilac, had nothing to do with organized religion. She thought that these convictions had been created by humans to exert control and dominance over the masses. This was done by the exploitation of specific doctrines that propagated fear to foster division in the name of a deity. In her mind, religious dogma had caused war and genocide throughout history, all elements of darkness. Lilac, therefore, had never affiliated herself with any organized belief system, but she did respect traditions, values, and the fundamental laws of humanity. She felt that tradition was vital for family unity, and Lilac had done her best to continue the customs that were taught to her by her grandmother.

She wondered why she valued this heritage so much and questioned whether it was hypocritical, given her principles. Lilac knew she needed to unravel her past to fully comprehend her life path before she could discover any type of enlightenment. She needed to face the veracity of her childhood to discard the chains of her past—not gloss over her experiences—no matter how painful and complicated the process.

This quest would require her to tear down the dark curtains around her heart. She needed to unlock her suppressed memories to bravely face her fears and discover the depth of generational violence and cruelty of her upbringing. After all, she had been assured that the vicious cycle of abuse stemming from her paternal grandfather’s bloodline had been broken. However, her genetic history of darkness and heritage had shaped her identity, fuelled her instinct for survival and inspired her burning desire to illuminate messages of hope, kindness, and forgiveness.

HeartofaWarriorAngel-Lali A. Love-Book Cover

 

Links and websites for the author

Twitter handle: @laliaristo
Instagram handle: @vibrationslovelight

Author Website

http://authorlalialove.com/

BookBub

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lali-a-love?list=about

GoodReads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19274711.Lali_A_Love

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46360566-heart-of-a-warrior-angel

Reedsy

https://reedsy.com/discovery/user/love-lali-a

Amazon

US: https://amzn.to/2qCoaaP

CA: https://amzn.to/2NPvcAQ

UK: https://amzn.to/33ypfz4

AU: https://amzn.to/33zS2mP