#BookReview by Lou of #NewBook – Just Like You by Nick Hornby @nickhornby @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks

Just Like You
By Nick Hornby
Rated: 5 stars *****

Excellent observations and a whole mix of life, romance and politics and everything you would expect from Nick Hornby within his fabulously astute writing style. It’s all brought together to make a great story in Just Like You, with relatable characters.

Thank you very much to the publicist at Viking Books for allowing me to review Just Like You.

Blurb

Lucy married just the sort of man you might expect: a university graduate who runs his own business. Unfortunately he turned out to have serious dependency issues.

Joseph is shaking off the memory of his last date, a girl who ticked all the right boxes and also drove him up the wall.

On an average Saturday morning in a butcher’s shop in North London, Lucy and Joseph meet on opposite sides of the counter. She is a teacher and mother of two, with a past she is trying to forget; he is an aspiring DJ with a wide-open future that maybe needs to start becoming more focused. Lucy and Joseph are opposites in almost all ways. Can something life-changing grow from uncommon ground?

Nick Hornby’s brilliantly observed, tender and brutally funny new novel gets to the heart of what it means to fall headlong in love with the best possible person – someone who may not be just like you at all.

Review

What an opening paragraph!!! It’s powerful, enigmatic and thought-provoking, all with one question that is posed in Spring 2016.

Lucy and Emma are characters so many women will be able to relate to as they talk about things you only would with a best friend. Lucy is on the look out for a man, encouraged by Emma. Written down, the list of attributes and desires in someone in the male species of humans, is so funny! True and to the point, but full of wit, when it’s actually in written. The atmosphere is jovial to begin with and gets deeper as the book progresses, whilst the writing shows Nick Hornby has observed people very well and all is written so naturally, in a way that these people could be within your own street.

It’s an interesting observational book that takes readers into the world of blind dating and society quirks of schooling and the private and comprehensive systems, that Nick Hornby gets spot-on. 

There’s also a comprehensive look into society when it comes to attitudes of sport and race through the butcher – Joseph and his dad and other events that have happened politically. At the heart of it all however, is a moving and deep romance that also covers a considerable age-gap, which I feel works well is quite refreshing to read about, since this is a book that covers a lot of what is happening in the world and has very nicely also not shied away from this too.

Moving back to the dating. there’s also the conversation within the book that consist of how people view each other about who is dating who, in terms of skin colour and the way words are phrased. It’s a deep story. Somehow, I expected it to be a romance with deep undertones. It’s such an emotional book with plenty of humour. It’s also about how you think a person is very similar to you would be the one, without a doubt, and yet, it doesn’t always work out like that and sometimes complete opposites really do attract and shows very honestly that all is not always simple when it comes to that tug of the heart-strings. It has a solid realistic story of romance, not one that’s so unachievable and yet desireable all the same like in the movies, but romance that isn’t always so perfect and this is what makes it all rather compelling and so likeable and want to get to know more and more about the characters lives.

It’s written well, as there are clearly emotive points being made, but the plot of the story as a whole is rather like an honest observation of society and bravely doesn’t hold back in its astuteness. 

#BookReview by Lou of emotionally, beautiful #newbook – Butterflies By D.E. McCluskey @demccluskey1 @dammagedpro1 #ContemporaryFiction #RomanticFiction

Butterflies
By D.E McCluskey
Rated: 5 stars *****

Life can be beautiful, but also delicate. As delicate as a butterfly’s wings, as Olivia Martelle is about to find out as life shows her that as things take off, there are unexpected twists, in this beautifully, emotionally written book.
Thank you to D.E. McCluskey for the opportunity to review.

See below for the blurb and full review as well as a buy and social media links below.

Butterflies.jpg

Blurb

Olivia Martelle has it all. She’s young and beautiful and has just had her fairy-tail wedding to the man of her dreams, the man who makes the butterflies in her stomach swoop and swirl. Life is looking rosy indeed.

Then, a cruel twist of fate changes everything. Her future looks to be torn away from her. Her husband is incapacitated and every day seems to be a continual battle with her sister-in-law, who she is convinced, hates her.

Her beautiful blue butterflies have turned to black.

A desperate mistake, leads her onto a path that she doesn’t want to tread, and her life begins to spiral out of her control. 

Olivia is about to find out that butterflies don’t beat for everyone…

Review

Sensual, Emotional, Fragile, like the wings of a butterfly.
If you’ve ever thought of taking life for granted, you quite possibly won’t after reading this beautiful, yet heart-wrenching book, where the characters have it all until life changing events happen. One minute, life is all fluttery and beating like an active butterfly, the next, it is just as fragile as those silky wings.

I read the book in a day. It hooks you into the characters lives so easily and the need to know how it ends is a necessity, this is done with aplomb and I am more impressed than I thought I would be. The plot has depth and twists and turns and Olivia, allthough most definitely flawed, is a strong woman.
Butterflies, blue, silky winged butterflies feature throughout and are an intelligent way of representing feelings of nerves and love as the wings flutter, when all is well, turning black when life changes.
The writing all appears to be done with sensitivity and care.

Olivia Britt, a determined, sassy character, who’s wedding day it is in Geneva, experiences the butterflies of love in many different ways. The flutter of the wings of a butterfly is a clever use of describing not just the pre-wedding nerves, but also the lovemaking. This is sensual and passionately written.
Distaster strikes when they are driving along… The lovely, light atmosphere of love and joy changes as Olivia and Paul find themselves in hospital. The way it changes so dramtically comes across well and as strongly as the romantic scenes before. It shows, like a butterflies wings, how fragile life can be, as family, such as Angela – Paul’s sister meet in a hospital as unexpected events start to occur that has an impact and consequences on everyone’s lives.

The colourful butterflies from the beautiful blue before are described as turning black.
I like this as a depiction a lot, how the butterflies are still used, even when life isn’t as it used to be. It’s just as powerful.

Life gets even more complicated when Angela attempts to become more controlling in her agenda to gain everything. I think people will recognise that this can happen within families. People will have to give it a read to see if it is resolved or not.

The emotions around Paul on the wedding night and when he is in hospital are realistic and convey the love and turmoil strongly, including when Richard, Angela’s husband comes more into the scene and life becomes more tangled.

There are beautifully written flashback sequences to the wedding day and how the tender, silky winged butterflies reacted.

I absolutely recommend this book. It’s one you will find yourself needing to find out if the butterflies can ever return and flutter with the rhythms and beats of life ever again.

Links

Buy Link : Amazon

Social Media Link: Facebook Page

Twitter @demccluskey1                        @dammagedpro

#BookReview by Lou of emotionally, beautiful #newbook – Butterflies By D.E. McCluskey @demccluskey1 @dammagedpro ContemporaryFiction

Butterflies
By D.E McCluskey
Rated: 5 stars *****

Life can be beautiful, but also delicate. As delicate as a butterfly’s wings, as Olivia Martelle is about to find out as life shows her that as things take off, there are unexpected twists, in this beautifully, emotionally written book.
Thank you to D.E. McCluskey for the opportunity to review.

See below for the blurb and full review as well as a buy and social media links below.

Butterflies.jpg

Blurb

Olivia Martelle has it all. She’s young and beautiful and has just had her fairy-tail wedding to the man of her dreams, the man who makes the butterflies in her stomach swoop and swirl. Life is looking rosy indeed.

Then, a cruel twist of fate changes everything. Her future looks to be torn away from her. Her husband is incapacitated and every day seems to be a continual battle with her sister-in-law, who she is convinced, hates her.

Her beautiful blue butterflies have turned to black.

A desperate mistake, leads her onto a path that she doesn’t want to tread, and her life begins to spiral out of her control. 

Olivia is about to find out that butterflies don’t beat for everyone…

Review

Sensual, Emotional, Fragile, like the wings of a butterfly.
If you’ve ever thought of taking life for granted, you quite possibly won’t after reading this beautiful, yet heart-wrenching book, where the characters have it all until life changing events happen. One minute, life is all fluttery and beating like an active butterfly, the next, it is just as fragile as those silky wings.

I read the book in a day. It hooks you into the characters lives so easily and the need to know how it ends is a necessity, this is done with aplomb and I am more impressed than I thought I would be. The plot has depth and twists and turns and Olivia, allthough most definitely flawed, is a strong woman.
Butterflies, blue, silky winged butterflies feature throughout and are an intelligent way of representing feelings of nerves and love as the wings flutter, when all is well, turning black when life changes.
The writing all appears to be done with sensitivity and care.

Olivia Britt, a determined, sassy character, who’s wedding day it is in Geneva, experiences the butterflies of love in many different ways. The flutter of the wings of a butterfly is a clever use of describing not just the pre-wedding nerves, but also the lovemaking. This is sensual and passionately written.
Distaster strikes when they are driving along… The lovely, light atmosphere of love and joy changes as Olivia and Paul find themselves in hospital. The way it changes so dramtically comes across well and as strongly as the romantic scenes before. It shows, like a butterflies wings, how fragile life can be, as family, such as Angela – Paul’s sister meet in a hospital as unexpected events start to occur that has an impact and consequences on everyone’s lives.

The colourful butterflies from the beautiful blue before are described as turning black.
I like this as a depiction a lot, how the butterflies are still used, even when life isn’t as it used to be. It’s just as powerful.

Life gets even more complicated when Angela attempts to become more controlling in her agenda to gain everything. I think people will recognise that this can happen within families. People will have to give it a read to see if it is resolved or not.

The emotions around Paul on the wedding night and when he is in hospital are realistic and convey the love and turmoil strongly, including when Richard, Angela’s husband comes more into the scene and life becomes more tangled.

There are beautifully written flashback sequences to the wedding day and how the tender, silky winged butterflies reacted.

I absolutely recommend this book. It’s one you will find yourself needing to find out if the butterflies can ever return and flutter with the rhythms and beats of life ever again.

Links

Buy Link : Amazon

Social Media Link: Facebook Page

Twitter @demccluskey1                        @dammagedpro

#BookReview of a #Newbook by Lou – The Unravelling by Liz Treacher @liztreacher #ContemporaryFiction

The Unravelling
By Liz Treacher
Rated: 4 stars ****

I’ve read two books by Liz Treacher before – The Wrong Envelope and The Wrong Direction and enjoyed them. They were set in the 1920’s and quite comedic. Unravelling is different in that it is set in contemporary times as readers are invited to follow the character Ella’s life as it changes in a space of a week.
I thank Liz Treacher for inviting me to review Unravelling and for sending me a copy with a beautiful personalised message in it.
Read further to find out the blurb, review and about the author and links…

The Unravelling cover.jpg

Blurb

‘The Unravelling combines sinister atmosphere with witty insight, and characters we can relate to facing the supernatural fear of our most human nightmares’ – Helen Sedgwick, author of The Comet Seekers

‘A cappuccino.’ He spoke clearly but slowly, as if he were a stranger here.
‘One shot or two?’
He gazed at me with thinly veiled contempt. ‘Oh, you only get one shot.’

For Ella Aldridge, a brilliant Classics student, life was supposed to be exciting. Thirty years on, she’s stuck in the suburbs in a boring job and a failing marriage. Even her daughter, the one she gave it all up for, seems distant.
But a sinister encounter on platform three is about to change everything. Under the watchful eye of a shadowy ticket inspector and his mysterious associate, Ella finds herself spiralling into a murky underworld where portentous signs appear from nowhere, thoughts are stored on memory sticks and speeding express trains may be more than they seem. As she begins to lose her grip on reality, Ella embarks on an extraordinary journey that touches everyone around her, forcing her to confront the biggest question of all.
By turns poignant, chilling and tinged with dark humour, The Unravelling is a novel full of heart and beauty, about the myth and magic of everyday life, and the sacrifices we make for what really matters.

Review

A lot can happen in a person’s life between Monday to Friday and it certainly does in Ella’s. She has quite a romanticised view of love and wishes things to be better between her and Derek and for him to essentially be driven wild with jealousy that others could fancy her as well. There is so much more to her than this though, as she travels by train and potentially is being watched, starting at the train station she uses to catch the train. There is a slightly unnerving quality about the writing, within some of the atmosphere that is created, as the week progresses.

Ella’s behaviours come to light as she displays, whether she wants to or not, her insecurities, especially, now her marriage is failing and her job, her life begins to unravel as reality and fantasy start to almost merge. The book has a firm grip on reality, but slowly, Ella is increasingly losing hers and the effects are beginning to manifest themselves both psychologically and physically.

There is an interesting insight into all of the characters within the acutely observant writing as the story goes primarily between Ella, Derek, Brenda and Lily. They are characters that are believable and are easy to care about what is happening in their lives.

About the Author

Liz is a writer and an art photographer and a love of images influences her writing. She is married with two children and lives in the Scottish Highlands by the sea.

Liz was drawn to writing after she discovered a tiny suitcase belonging to her grandmother. It was tied up with gingham ribbon and full of letters sent by two soldiers on their way to the First World War. The cheerful tone of the soldiers and the way their letters seemed to conceal more than they revealed inspired Liz’s first novel, ‘The Wrong Envelope.’ She has since written a sequel, ‘The Wrong Direction’ and a darker, contemporary novel, ‘The Unravelling’.

 

#BookReview by Lou of The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie #Fiction

The Magic Carpet
By Jessica Norrie
Rated: 4 Stars ****

Today I bring to you a fictional diverse story of different families having to come together in an assignment set by the school to perform a range of fairy-stories. There are many challenging circumstances for families to overcome inside the brightly designed cover, which would sit looking very pretty, after reading on adult’s bookcases.
I thank the author of The Magic Carpet – Jessica Norrie for contacting me to review.
Follow down to the blurb, review and links.

The Magic Carpet cover

Blurb

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

Review

Most parents and other family members will be or have recollection of sitting through their child’s school play. A crying baby, the excitement and the nervousness of it all.

2016 is the year and the book starts in October with the school play. Wind back a month and September has the mum’s at the school gates, which is written through the eyes of a child – Alka Metha and how her mum is trying to sell the idea of a beauty business to other parents.

Theresa Perry is a mum who is reassured by letters from school and getting involved and gets over-excited. She also has so many insecurities and ends up rushing around, which also shows a critical side of her.

Mr Chan has a son – Nathan who wants his dad to help him with the story and to get Alka involved. What also shows is the judgements being made. Curiously Mr Chan is also looking for some romance to return into his life.

Safiya is mum to Xoriyo and like most mum’s relishes the opportunity of that elusive lie-in. There’s also the fact that Safiya can’t have any more children, that’s at play in their lives. There’s also the concern from Safiya that Xoriyo doesn’t really try, nor wants to fit in and she’s got to get to the bottom of it. She also teaches Xoriyo their background and culture, but also wants her to fit in well and be happy being British and living within the culture of the country she is in.

There’s the main cast and also quite strong secondary characters within this story of creating a story for school. Parents and school teachers are likely to relate to a lot of this book and how things can be within families and within the process of creating a school show. The book is also detailed about school days and school gate behaviour.
The way parents can be towards others and towards teachers is portrayed pretty well and accurately.
There’s also some secrets that emerge about how the children behave at school too. I think parents’/caregivers will find the novel both thought-provoking and enlightening. It also shows all these people from different origins and backgrounds trying to fit in and wanting to fit into one country and with each other.

The Magic Carpet, isn’t just the stuff of fairytales, that is the topic of the school play, but also the coming together of people from all different cultures, who now live in one country – the UK fitting together, or in the families cases, trying to; rather like the patchwork on the front cover of the book.

Links:

Website: https://jessicanorrie.wordpress.com

Buy Link:
 http://getBook.at/TheMagicCarpet

#Review of the outstanding #NewBook – Us Three By Ruth Jones #RuthJones @AlisonBarrow

Us Three
By Ruth Jones
Rated: 5 stars *****

Us Three is an uplifting, joyous and emotional read of 3 character’s lives and their friendship together, that is just an incredibly impressive book that is well observed on human nature. that I highly recommend. Once started, it is difficult to put down and leave. All in all, Ruth Jones, famed for Gavin and Stacey and her debut – Never Greener, has written outstandingly, again with this second novel.

It has to be said, I was so amazed  and excited, that I have this opportunity to review Us Three by Ruth Jones. Thank you so much to Alison Barrow at Transworld Books.
Read on for the blurb and full review…

Us Three

Blurb

The new novel from Ruth Jones, author of the smash-hit, number one bestselling debut, Never Greener.

Meet Lana, Judith and Catrin. Best friends since primary school when they swore an oath on a Curly Wurly wrapper that they would always be there for each other, come what may.

After the trip of a lifetime, the three girls are closer than ever. But an unexpected turn of events shakes the foundation of their friendship to its core, leaving their future in doubt – there’s simply too much to forgive, let alone forget. An innocent childhood promise they once made now seems impossible to keep . . .

Packed with all the heart and empathy that made Ruth’s name as a screenwriter and now author, Us Three is a funny, moving and uplifting novel about life’s complications, the power of friendship and how it defines us all. Prepare to meet characters you’ll feel you’ve known all your life – prepare to meet Us Three.

Review

I was, as you an see, very excited to see that I had an opportunity to review Us Three by Ruth Jones. She isn’t just an incredibly good script-writer and actor, but also a very good novelist. Us Three takes readers on a well-written, well-observed journey with Catrin Kelly, Lana Lloyd and Judith Harris. The three have a big trip planned of Greek island hopping before parting ways as Catrin wants to study medicine at Cardiff, Judith wants to read economics in London and Lana wants to train to be a musical theatre actor.
The writing is amusing and has a natural flow that you can’t help but be swept along with it from the start.

Characters are given their own chapters, but each are interwoven into each other’s lives and it’s great getting to know them. In amongst the friendships and comaraderie, things in life aren’t always easy, not when Judith’s mum falls terribly unwell, or did she? This is a question readers will find the answer to as the story continues.

When, finally on holiday, the three get into some unplanned situations, some of which are rather unfortunate indeed. There’s also some fun, gorgeous scenery and archetecture and perhaps a bit of romance to stumble into. There are also some unexpected revelations concerning Judith’s family. It’s interesting as they come tumbling out from George.
The relationship that Lana is involved in is one that may make you, like it did me, if it could last or not.
Catrin has exciting news.

The friendship that is captured is absolutely wonderful. The way they look out for each other, practically shines a light on how friendships ought to be. The Three of Us is so heartwarming. There are however some major challenges to overcome as well as utter heartache within one of the families as they’re taken to quite an unexpected dark place. Ruth Jones expertly navigates the shades of light and dark of life. It catches you right there. One moment you can be smiling and the next, feeling a bit more serious. She totally captures you in the book.

Part 2 takes readers into their lives 18 years later and the year is 2005 and part 3 is 12 years on, with the year being 2017. It’s an interesting insight into how Catrin, Lana and Judith are growing up and how their friendships are as time moves on and how certain things change and life’s milestones occur, some happily, others with deep sadness. All the way through I can’t help but root for their friendships to survive the ups and downs. The ups are joyous and the downs are sometimes to the extent of heartbreak in their personal lives. There are also ups and downs within their friendship to each other. The downs are the sort that, if you, like me, have friendships with some people who you’ve known most of your lives, don’t happen. I’m totally invested in these characters lives and it is tremendously easy to do so, even as early as the first few chapters in part 1. The time moving on works incredibly well as the insights are fascinating as the story builds and there is a great desire to keep reading on and finding out more because they are characters with lives to care about. The parts are also, so succinct, being divided like that, that they flow effortlessly from part to part. Each has a realistic feel to it. By the time I finsihed, I am almost speechless. It’s just absolutely, one of the most heartwarming books. The strength of character is each woman is undoubtedly amazing.

All in all, I highly praise and recommend Us Three by Ruth Jones.

About the Author

Ruth Jones is best known for her outstanding and award-winning television writing, most notably BBC1’s Gavin and Stacey, which she co-wrote with James Corden and in which she played the incorrigible Nessa Jenkins. The most recent Christmas Day special of Gavin and Stacey gained national critical acclaim, drawing an audience of over 18 million and winning a National Television Award for Impact. Ruth also created and co-wrote Sky 1’s Stella, which ran for six series. As well as being Baftanominated for her role as the eponymous Stella, Ruth has also starred in several other television comedies and dramas. Her debut novel Never Greener has now sold over a quarter of a million copies. It was chosen as WHSmith Fiction Book of the Year 2018, was a Zoe Ball Book Club pick, and was a Sunday Times bestseller for fifteen weeks, three weeks at number one. Us Three is Ruth’s second novel.