#Review by Lou – Waiting To Begin by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse @rararesources #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview

Waiting To Begin
By Amanda Prowse

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Waiting To Begin is an excellent book about families and relationships and how you can work life out in your teens and for there to be fundamental twists and turns from then, into adulthood. It is also even better than I thought it would be and so quick to become totally absorbed in.
Thanks to Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to review and to Amanda Prowse for gifting me a signed copy of the book. *My review is not influenced by this.
Discover the blurb and my review below and a bit about the author – Amanda Prowse.

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Blurb

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?

  1. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.
  2. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

Waiting to Begin - Hi Res Book Cover

Review

Waiting To Begin is an apt title as the book goes from 1984 and jumps smoothly to 2021 and it is like Bessie’s life is waiting to begin in a way that is happy, in this emotional and pulls at the heartstrings. It is a beautifully written book about life in your teens and adulthood and relationships. It reels you in so much that it is practically impossible to put down. The main protagonist – Bessie is so easy to root for in both 1984 and 2021, no matter what life throws at her, whether its a bit of light humour or a hard time.

Bessie, in 1984 has dreams and ambitions at 16, nothing outlandish, just average, which is one of the reasons why this book is relatable. She wants to pass her exams and be an air-hostess. She likes music and hanging out with best friend – Michelle. Just as things are seeming bright and breezy, everything changes and what seems like a sunny outlook, turns as bleak as gathering storm clouds in grades, future prospects and friendships.

In 2021, she is married to Mario and is 37 years old. It is easy to will her on and to do well and find happiness in life, but those 1984 storm clouds are a bit more ferocious as life starts to tumble some more as even adult life presents its challenges and 1984 seems more than a lifetime away. One wrongly interpreted text to Mario one day, sends him into a rage and, as the reasoning for sending the text, which was perhaps ill-conceived, OTT reaction of Mario shows his true manner and more revelations tumble out about the state of their marriage, creates a sharp intake of breath. Loss, secrets and the complexities of relationships within marriages and wider families and friends and life is explored with aplomb within “Waiting To Begin”, with the twists and turns that life presents through the dark and light times and a great supporting cast that pull together a roundedness of this rich story of a not so easy life. It depicts well how life isn’t always like a straight line or as easy as getting from A to B and yet there is a sense of resillience that weaves through.

 It’s a book that I sailed through, captured in Bessie’s life and before I knew it, I had reached the end!

Purchase Linkhttp://bit.ly/WaitingToBegin_UK

About the Author

Amanda Prowse Jacket Shot Colour 6.9MB[2] (1)Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty seven novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

 

#BookReview by Lou – What Planet Can I Blame This On by Ellie Pilcher @ElliePilcher95 @Hodder_Studio

What Planet Can I Blame This On
by Ellie Pilcher

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Laugh out loud funny, this book is one comedy of life that is great to relax into and tickle those funny bones.
Thank you to Ellie Pilcher and Hodder Studio for the invite to review and for gifting me a book.

What Planet Can I Blame This On

Blurb

The stars are not in position  and Krystal Baker is determined to make them fall in line.

It’s Krystal’s 29th birthday. This year:

· Her boyfriend finally proposed after six years of dating (only for her to find out he cheated on her for five and a half of them)

· She landed her dream job as a writer at Craze magazine (which swiftly fell into administration)

· She moved into her dream flat overlooking the city (just for the pipes to explode making the place unliveable)

As she mourns everything wrong in her life, her best friend mutters the dreaded words: Saturn Return. The time in a woman’s life where Saturn returns to the position it was in on the day of their birth, 29.5 years ago, and, according to legend, everything falls apart. Krystal has never bought into astrology but maybe it’s time to re-evaluate – because if the stars got her into this mess, they can get her out of it. And she only has six months to make things right.

Loaded with crystals, horoscopes, tarot cards and a carefully aligned chakra or two, Krystal’s determined to have her life back on track by the time Saturn returns. No longer shall she brand herself a ‘human disaster’ because this time it’s not her fault, it’s written in the treacherous stars.

It’s Krystal versus the universe in a fight for her future that she’s determined to win.

Review

This is surprisingly very funny. It starts with Krystal’s birthday and her bemoaning her playlist, of which I may have furrowed my brow at Stay Shakespear’s Sister, but each taste is different. Moving on… It’s her birthday and her playlist dislike is the absolute least of her worries. Her boyfriend and his behaviour is her biggest problem. Luckily she has friends, Tina and Paige to turn to. The conversation that ensues is seriously funny and the humour in the descriptions and dialogue continue throughout as they decide what they want to do with the bad boyfriend. There’s also a funny description and reference to Villanelle in Killing Eve and Harry Potter and other references to things such as pop culture and more, carefully placed, and in a witty way
Life just tumbles for her as she then loses her job and finds herself which planet or star she can blame it all on. It’s a book that lives and breaths in grown-up millienials in some ways and in another, in the most funniest ways, that the planets and stars have a lot to play in her life. As much as throughout, it is fun to laugh with Krystal and her friends and at her, it is easy to cheer her on and hope that things pick up in her life again, from all the freefalling catastrophes that life can throw at people. She then relies on horoscopes and planet alignments to help her re-evaluate her life and to try to change it and her friends are there too, full of kindness.
Whatever stage you are in life, there will be something relatable and it is ultimately a laugh-out-loud book, that’s as good as some sitcoms in some of the humour.

The humour makes this a wonderful book to sit with a glass of wine or something, out in the sun.

 

#BookReview by Lou – Love and Miss Harris by Peter Maughan @PeterMaughan5 @farragobooks @RandomTTours #ContemporaryFiction #Theatre #HistoricalFiction #Humour

Love And Miss Harris
By Peter Maughan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Love and Miss Harris is perfect for theatre-goers and everyone working in theatre productions. It is also perfect for people who enjoy Ealing Comedies and authors such as P.G. Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome and people who enjoy a good bit of capers and humour as the book captures a certain era so divinely. It’s a lot of theatrical fun! This is book 1 of what is becoming a series and I am looking forward to the second already. It’s a feel-good funny book.

Find out more in the blurb and review below. Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review and for Farrago Books for gifting me a copy of the book.

About the Author

Love And Miss Harris Peter Maughan Author picPeter Maughan’s early career covered many trades, working on building sites, in wholesale markets, on fairground rides and in a circus. He studied at the Actor’s Workshop in London, and worked as an actor in the UK and Ireland, subsequently founding a fringe theatre in Barnes, London.
He is married and lives currently in Wales.

 

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Blurb

Titus Llewellyn-Gwlynne, actor/manager of the Red Lion Theatre, has lost a backer who was going to fund a theatrical tour – when unexpected salvation appears.
Their home theatre in the East End of London having been bombed during the war, The Red Lion Touring Company embarks on a tour of Britain to take a play written by their new benefactress into the provinces.

This charming series transports the reader to a lost post-war world of touring rep theatre and once-grand people who have fallen on harder times, smoggy streets, and shared bonhomie over a steaming kettle.
The mood is whimsical, wistful, nostalgic, yet with danger and farce along the way.

Review

I love theatre and everything about it, ever since my mum introduced me to the theatre when I was a teenager, I’ve had a passion for them, so much so, that I even volunteered for just over a decade for a local theatre company, mostly doing front of house duties and occasionally backstage. So, when I was invited to review this book, I jumped at the chance and I think the timing is most apt as theatres and everyone has struggled to get by at this time and now they are starting, slowly but surely, and safely to re-open. This book instantly brings back the joy of theatre and also comedy. The fact it is The Company of Fools series, is in itself theatrical and Shakespearean in that subtitle, although the book itself is not Shakespearean, it’s thoughtful and adds fun and history right there and also cleverly alludes to the fun readers will have, as does that cover. This is worthwhile hopping onto that bus on the cover and enjoying the ride the book takes you on…

Titus, Reuben, Dolly, Jack are prominant characters within this theatrical cast, that instantly transports readers to rep theatre and with wonderful characterisation and observations are divine and everything comes to life. It is also nice that The Windmill Theatre gets a mention as it is pretty famous for rep theatre at this time. 

The title of the book is more clever than you’d think. Love and Miss Harris is the title of a play that Lady Devonaire has written, or rather George, with this as his pseudonymn. The style of writing is quite theatrical in places, which is wonderful and it has a lot of charm. It’s easy to depict in your minds eye – The Red Lion Touring Company losing their theatre due to it being bombed and how they overcome it by jumping on a tour bus and travelling. It shows a certain ingenuity and resillience and admiration how theatre has had to overcome hard times to survive, a bit like today in a way…. So hop on the bus with them and enjoy the ride that is full of humour and get to know a little about the places they go to. That isn’t to say that things are all plain sailing, the company are suspicious of Jack and there’s financial issues to try to overcome. There are also interesting bits about war times too, in memories, that isn’t to say this is a book that jumps from one time frame to another, it isn’t as that wouldn’t have enhanced what is a perfectly good read as it is.

All in all, it is a thoroughly enjoyable book.

I have read the preview for the second in the series and I must say, it is sounding good. 

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#Review by Lou – The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain Happy Publication Day @MattCainWriter @HeadlineFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction #Romance

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle
By Matt Cain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Touching and endearing, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is nothing short of fabulously uplifting and full of joy and optimism. It’s a beautiful, highly original summer read. It’s a Must Read!

I very highly recommend this book  because I genuinely loved it and could not put it down. It was a pity it had to end sometime.

Check out more in the blurb, my review and the praise it has already attracted.
Thanks to publishers – Headline for gifting me a copy of the book

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

Blurb

The Secret Life of Albert EntwistleAlbert Entwistle is a postman, a pretty ordinary one at that and one that I was interested to know more about, even with the pang of sadness that he appears to have no life outside work, which poses a challenge when retirement is on the cards. 

I especially enjoyed getting to know Albert, George and Marjorie, as well as Nicole and seeing their lives unfold and how they are connected.

This is a very beautiful book that’s so quick to get into. It’s uplifting, with a cosy warmth. It also bridges the gap between younger and older generations, in some ways in the attutudes that and secrecy were around at certain times. It’s quite hard to put down as you uncover great characters and a life with secrets that may not be quite what you’re expecting and reasons why Albert hid part of his life for a time.

There are reunions and a love story that starts to play out and it is so lovely to watch it unfold. There’s travel and theatre and such life drama.

There are discoveries made and life can be more than what you think it might as no one can predict the future. It is so poignant and touching in parts. The journeys that are taken, both deep, personal ones and the actual moving around from Toddington to Blackpool add to the great life affirming adventure, that so easily reels you in.

The book is entertaining to read and just projects so much joy and also so much emotion, with a pinpoints of humour. There is strength of character and courage, which is absolutely fabulous!

There will also be Reading Group Questions at the end of the book.

Praise for The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

rollicking love story‘ IAN McKELLEN

‘A wonderful old-fashioned romance . . . An utter treat‘ KATE MOSSE

Wonderful. Written with such a good heart, filled with joy and strength and optimism . . . inventive and fun but most importantly, true.’ RUSSELL T. DAVIES

Brilliant . . . [I] recommend to all!’ MATT LUCAS

‘I loved it! Really heart-warming and joyful, but also so poignant. I cannot recommend this book highly enough’ LORRAINE KELLY

‘Albert is such an endearing character – flawed, funny and awkward, but completely relatable. A wonderfully warm story that completely drew me in’ RUTH HOGAN

Sweetlovely and expected to be a big summer hit‘ THE BOOKSELLER

‘Prepare to fall in love with Albert Entwistle! Touching and tender’ S. J. WATSON

Albert is delightful and charming, and the book is too’ JONATHAN HARVEY

#Review by Lou of The Other Times of Caroline Tangent by Ivan D. Wainewright @IvanWainewright @RandomTTours #NewBook #Music #TimeTravel #ContemporaryFiction

The Other Times of Caroline Tangent
By Ivan D. Wainewright

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Join Caroline and Jon Tangent in what is like a back catalogue or an Aladdin’s Cave of music festivals and gigs through the eras in this magnificently uplifting time-travelling book that is perfect for music lovers and people who love a great story alike. Gigs/Concerts, we’ve not been to them for quite awhile… The timing is perfect with so many gigs postponed and there are glimmers of light just starting to shine on them again. From the start with all the excitement and music to the trepidation of what can happen when choices in the past are made and change, this book is thought-provoking, entertaining and a page-turner.

Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in my review below.
Thanks to RandomTTours for inviting me to review and for Ivan D. Wainewright for sending a copy of the book.

 

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Blurb

If you could travel back in time to see any concert, who would you go to see?

Caroline Tangent’s husband, Jon has invented a time machine so they can visit iconic gigs in history: Woodstock, David Bowie, Edith Piaf in 1930’s Paris – an inexhaustible bucket-list.

But they can’t tell anyone they’re doing so. 

As their trips to the past continue, they begin to realise how it could change a devastating moment from their own past.

But for Caroline, it’s clear they don’t want the same outcome. 

Until, on one trip, one of them does something unthinkable which will change both their lives forever. 

The Other Times of Caroline Tangent is a time travel book set in the ‘real world’. It’s as much about the decisions we make – or don’t make – in our relationships as it is about time travel. 

 
For fans of Matt Haig, Claire North, Kate Mascarenhas, Audrey Niffenegger – or anyone who likes time travel or music!

Review

wp-1621851421231.jpgFor a moment, it’s Paris, 1935 and then…. whoosh! Readers are in London, 2021 and meeting Caroline and Jon Tangent, who are the most avid music fans and collectors ever! Music of all sorts of genres and from all sorts of eras from Edith Piaf to The Beatles to Amy Winehouse to KT Tunstall and everyone inbetween, oozes from this book and it is pretty exciting! The back of the book, and the lovely bookmark poses a question: “If you could travel back in time to see any concert, who would you go to see?” Excitingly thought provoking isn’t it? Music and a passion for it simply oozes from this book. It could easily have a sound track to it as readers then slip into huge gigs and festivals. The back of the book has an impressive gig list of where Jon and Caroline go. At a time when people haven’t been able to go to Glastonbury or any gigs for so long, and as there is hope of them restarting, the timing of this book is absolutely perfect! The book takes readers into a back catalogue of time and music and all the stars of certain eras and iconic venues, such as The Cavern Club.
There are so many music artists that everyone (or at least most people) will have heard of all or most of. The excitement and happy vibe is infectious as you read as they forefill life-long dreams, until a moment of trepidation happens as suddenly, they can’t get back home from one of their trips as they’ve lost the time-travelling pen, which allows this. This sparks a totally awesome encounter with a band! That moment of trepidation becomes something bigger and spirals as history starts to change.

Amongst all the jovial fun of time-travel and music, is the harshness of reality of life, with illness in Veronica, Jon’s sister-in-law and yet with it comes a sense of positivity with talk of Jon’s inventions and humour prevails, at least for awhile…
There are also encounters with people in other parts that make the pair more appreciative of the things 2021 Britain has, such as the NHS as their eyes open to other people’s lives. As much as there is much fun, there are thought-provoking parts of discovery too. It is quite a twisty book as social issues and crimes arise and come to the fore as the music scenes fade a bit more into the background. There are also uncertainties as certain choices are made in the past and how things, things are seen that can make or break lives, how things change and what starts off as quite ordinary becomes extraordinary and outcomes can become quite different from what you might expect with concern of the butterfly effect.

From the start with all the excitement and music to the trepidation of what can happen when choices in the past are made and change, this book is thought-provoking, entertaining and a page-turner.

 

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#Review by Lou – Carried Away by E.L. Haynes #ELHaynes #Fiction

Carried Away
By E.L. Haines

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Cats in ways you may not expect, politics in terms you would expect and a pandemic causing catastrophie and yet characters to get to know and nestled within, other trends like more TV watching create a thriller that everyone can relate to…. It isn’t all as dark as it would seem in what is a surprisingly beautifully written book.

I thank E.L. Haines for getting in touch via my Contact Page on the blog to request a review of his book – Carried Away. Discover more about him and the book below, plus my review after the blurb and a purchase link.

About The Author

Ethan is a self-published author under the name E.L. Haines. His latest book, Carried Away, is a pandemic thriller based on the global response to COVID-19 in 2020. Ethan is a passionate researcher with a special interest in medical literature, which almost always finds its way into his fiction books. He also doubles as a medical journalist, tracking the latest developments in the health field for FARR.

 

Blurb

Carried AwayIn the midst of a deadly global disease, sometimes it’s hard to say which is worse: the pandemic, or the pandemonium.

Sparrow is visiting Italy, just trying to enjoy a decent pizza, when the locals start dropping dead from a mysterious disorder. Soon, he’s caught up in rampant rumors, a panicking population, and a competition to find the cure.

All the while, he’s fighting off ferocious felines and defending himself from hospital patients who are definitely not zombies. Zombies aren’t real.

But cats are real. And you’ll never look at Whiskers the same way again.

You can’t spell catastrophe without C-A-T.

Review

Vector is based in Catania, which is beautifully scenic and made up of elderly retired people and the youthful unemployed and both feel like they’ve given up as they have the same goals of doing very little and seem trapped in the mundane parts of the cycle of life. Vector is different and wants to know if there is more to life than the same old routines. It sparks my interest, as does the lives of Cruz and Carrie. Sparrow is an interesting character, readers can get to know very well. Suddenly an innocent time in Italy, enjoying pizza, turns into a nightmare that has everything thrown at it and turns into thriller with a race against time, which twists and turns. 

There is something beautiful, yet organic about the descriptions, that enriches what readers and characters are seeing.

It’s a brave book, that is well considered with a truth about it and is highly topical as it talks about male suicide and also a pandemic beginning with the World Health Organisation (WHO) getting involved. It mirrors a bit about what is happening in the world today, including within hospitals. This isn’t just about a pandemic though, it has intrigue on a political slant. The book even has cats within it, for all the cat-lovers and to highlight the cat trend, but are they all cute and fluffy? That would be telling…
It isn’t all dark and bleak, there is good food and the characters everyday lives to get stuck into and trending tv programmes. So it does have some lift to this multi-layered book.

Such books may be too soon for some people hit hardest by the pandemic, but at the same time, there will be people to stomach it now lockdowns are easing. In some ways the book is important to add to a slowly growing collection of these books because people’s memories do fade in time and some, like this one, mixes fact and fiction, so some parts are more recognisable than others to create a thriller of story. I look at it like this, just like all those books and films about the First and Second World Wars are written and shown, that show different takes on catastrophic events, books like this one are doing the same with the pandemic.

Purchase link:     Amazon