A Book for Each Day of the Week #TheStrawberryThief @Joannechocolat #SummerattheKindnessCafe @Vicky_Walters #TheHangryHamster #SealedWithADeath @JamesSilvester1 #TheLongestFarewell @nulasuchet @johnsuchet1 #summer #bookish #crime #kidslit #romance #France #UK #Thriller #summerreads #review Resume of Reviews of 7 Great Books for Summer and Beyond

A resume of 7 great books I have read over the summer and beyond.

I have read and reviewed a number of books this summer. I thought I would give a quick resume of 7 of them. Full reviews are also in my blog. I have also provided individual links to the full reviews. Please do take a look, you may be inspired or reminded of a good book.

The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris – Fiction

Strawberry thief

The Strawberry Thief is the latest part of the Chocolat series, written by Joanne Harris

This book sees Vianne Rocher back in Lansquenette-Sous Tannes during Easter with strawberries and chocolate filling the senses. There’s also a change in the wind as there is excellent writing, truth and emotion in the writing as Anouk has grown up and flown the nest. This is in contrast to Rosette who cannot do this part of life.
Roux still lives on the boat, preferring his own company and there is a new character called Morgane Dubois.
The writing of the wind is beautifully descriptive and tells the reader there’s much more than just the wind to come and that it is meaningful. The growing up of children who fly the nest and set up their own lives is relatable. The book will arouse anyone’s senses and emotions. It is just as good as the previous 3 books within this series. The descriptive writing is atmospheric and adds to the intrigue as to how this book will end.

Note, there is also an added afterward about Joanne’s own experience of her daughter leaving home and there is a poignant, well-written short story in print copies only of this book that are well-worth reading.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/06/02/the-strawberry-thief-by-joanne-harris-an-exquisite-atmospheric-and-poignant-book-5-stars-joannechocolat-orionbooks-gigicroft-thestrawberrythief-review-newbook-waterstones

 

Summer at the Kindness Cafe by Victoria Walters – Fiction

Summer at Kindess Cover (1)

Enter Brew – Kindness Cafe this summer and you won’t be disappointed. Enter Brew and be inspired to do your own random acts of kindness this summer, like the three women within this story.

Abbie Morgan is the main protagonist and is forced to leave London after being made redundant, something so relatable to many people.
Within the book there are sections called “Notes from the Brew Kindness Board”. This may inspire some people to follow-suit and do random acts of kindness. Get to know the characters and their personalities and see if Acts of Kindness transforms their lives or not.
Once the story has ended, turn the page for a lovely note by the author.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/06/18/summer-at-the-kindness-cafe-by-victoria-walters-this-summer-be-encapsulated-in-warmth-kindness-and-life-vicky_walters-teambatc-summeratthekindnesscafe-randomthingstours-annecater-randomactof

The Hangry Hamster by Grace McCluskey – Fiction

hangry hamster

Have fun with this children’s book. Billy gets a hamster and takes him everywhere, until the hamster isn’t allowed on the plane when Billy is going abroad. The hamster gets left behind and becomes hangry and goes on an adventure through London. Take a read of this adventurous, exciting, humorous, well illustrated book, written by a child for children.

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/07/14/the-hangry-hamster-by-grace-mccluskey-a-short-action-packed-book-to-engage-and-excite

Sealed with a Death – Fiction

Sealed with a Death Book Cover

Would you like a great political thriller? Give Sealed with a Death by James Silvester a try.

This book has got to be placed up there in one of the most current book in fiction there currently is. James Silvester writes very well and at excellent pace, in conveying what is happening and mixing it with his fictional. Meet Lucie Musilova – an assassin working as part of the Overlappers Intelligence Team. Women across many countries in Europe start to disappear, Kasper Algers, an Independent MP disappears and there’s still the case as to what happened to Ines Aubel. Readers are also taken into the world of brothels and further into the world of espionage and fake passports.

The book takes us to the far right of British politics and also to France where there’s the Gilet Jaune movement and the author takes this element into Britain. There’s also a focus on the everyday prejudices, pay as well as the cuts to police resources.

I have to say, I was impressed by not just how current this book is, but also the calibre of writing, considering the time it takes to write a book, especially well and how politics moves along at the moment. The language and tone of all the characters is believable, there’s no holding back!

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/07/15/sealed-with-a-death-by-james-silvester-jamessilvester1-urbanebooks-lovebookstours-politicalthriller-thriller-espionage-newreview-newbook

A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft – Fiction

A Summer to Remember Cover

Clancy Moss is the main character, leaving her old life to start a new one. There’s romance, there’s social, tourism and education issues that are dealt with. From beginning to end this book has so much of human life and yet it feels as light as summer, and still it skillfully has meaningful substance. It is a most enjoyable and absorbing read of break-up, romance and life’s trials and tribulations and escapism. A Summer to Remember is a book to remember this summer and for more summers to come.

Please note, there is also an added short story in physical print copies of this book that is worth reading.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/07/24/a-summer-to-remember-by-sue-moorcroft-a-delightful-summer-read-suemoorcroft-avonbooksuk-summer-summerreads-heatwave-review-newbooks-ebookpromo-norfolk-romance

 

Zippy and Me by Ronnie Le Drew – Non-Fiction

zippy cover

Ronnie Le Drew is best known as being the puppeteer for Zippy in children’s TV show – Rainbow. It is a well written autobiography about becoming a puppeteer, his starting out at the The Little Angel Theatre. Some of the hard time he had to go through (not a sob-story though, it is better than that). and the people he worked with such as Jim Henson and David Bowie. Ronnie comes across as being down-to-earth as he never forgets his roots. This book is also about a bit of Rainbow scandal and what happened to the people working in it afterwards. It is nostalgic to say the least. Readers will get a look of behind the scenes of Ronnie’s puppeteer work, which makes it a fascinating read.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/08/02/zippy-and-me-by-ronnie-le-drew-with-duncan-barrett-and-nuala-calvi-re-visit-your-childhood-with-this-enlightening-book-about-rainbow-zippyandme-punchand-unbounders-duncanbarrett-nualacalvi-rai

The Longest Farewell by Nula Suchet – Non-Fiction

The Longest Farewell book pic

 Condensing my review down, only goes a little into what is really within the pages of this book. I will say it is a very worthy book to read, so please do take a look at the full review of it. I will also say it is the most emotional book of the summer. Nula Suchet’s husband James who, at the age of 57 had Picks disease – a form of dementia and this is chronicled very well in this book, with every heart-felt sentence. John Suchet’s wife – Bonnie also had dementia. It is heartbreaking and there is also so much love as Nula cares for James, who does go into a care home, but that is also where she meets John, who is there visiting his Bonnie. It is also about the relationship that develops between John and Nula and their travels together, that at first don’t exactly go smoothly. The writing is so amazingly strong, every aspect of the book is absorbing and all-consuming in a good way because every emotion can practically be felt and empathised and sympathised with. It is telling that it is all written from the heart and this part of both John and Nula’s life was not easy. It does however have the most happy of endings or rather shows the happiness of a continuation of their lives. 

Please do look at my full review for this book, if you haven’t done so already because just a few words only really highlights the book’s existence and a little of what it is about.

Link below:

https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog/2019/08/07/the-longest-farewell-james-dementia-and-me-by-nula-suchet-nulasuchet-johnsuchet1-serenbooks-david_suchet-vicky_mcclure-the_writereads-dementia-nonfiction-review-newbook

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Sealed With A Death by James Silvester @JamesSilvester1 @UrbaneBooks #LoveBooksTours #politicalthriller #thriller #espionage #newreview #newbook

Sealed With A Death
By James Silvester
Rated: *****

 

I am pleased to be starting off the blog tour for Sealed With A Death by James Silvester.

Sealed with a Death poster

About the Author

James Silvester’s debut novel and sequel, Escape to Perdition and The Prague Ultimatum, reflected his love both of central Europe and the espionage genre and was met with widespread acclaim. His new series features strong female protagonist Lucie Musilova, a character fully reflective of Europe’s changing cultural and political landscape. James lives in Manchester.

Blurb

Still new to the top-secret Overlappers intelligence team, and on her first `hit’ alone, Lucie Musilova has an attack of conscience and nearly botches the operation, taking a bullet wound before finishing off her target. Though her injuries are minor, she is chastised for her carelessness and assigned desk duties. Here she investigates a number of disappearances of European women from Britain – the women all missing without trace until the body of one is discovered, raped and murdered. Lucie learns that tens of women have disappeared, all with little investigation. As she digs deeper she begins to uncover a terrifying international conspiracy that potentially threatens not just her life, but to topple Governments….  
Sealed with a Death Book Cover.jpg

Review

I firstly should mention that cover. It is strong and very well designed and is very effective for what is inside the pages.

This book has got to be placed up there in one of the most current book in fiction there currently is. All fiction has elements of the non-fiction, it grounds everything and keeps it realistic. This book certainly does all of that very well. We just need to turn on the news and still, almost everyday, a large proportion of it is not just politics, but Brexit within Britain. James Silvester writes very well and at excellent pace, in conveying what is happening and mixing it with his fictional, strong female character Lucie Musolova, who works within the world of espionage and assassination, and yet has to also reconcile this with the fact she has a faith.

What sets this book apart from some political thrillers, except the sheer current political profile it builds up, is the pace, kept up by the conciseness of the writing and the range of topics, which is enough to keep readers interested and adds to the intrigue as to what could happen next. From the opening paragraph, the atmosphere has been set as the scene then builds, which all pulled me in and I am certain would pull in other readers fast. For a political thriller, this is no mean feat. Politics can be and is often interesting, I think so anyway, after all, it affects everyone’s lives, either positively or negatively, but for a fictional book to immediately draw attention takes skill.

Lucie Musilova is an assassin and I have to say, a likeable one. She is part of the Overlappers Intelligent Team and within the book readers enter the world of trafficking and exploitation and politics. She is a strong woman, but certainly human and seems to have a heart to an extent, which I like. She makes mistakes, some big ones however, such as nearly putting an operation into jeopardy by making a misjudgment. The story then ups the thriller element again when women across many countries in Europe start to disappear, Kasper Algers, an Independent MP disappears and there’s still the case as to what happened to Ines Aubel. Readers are also taken into the world of brothels and further into the world of espionage and fake passports.

I have to say, I was impressed by not just how current this book is, but also the calibre of writing, considering the time it takes to write a book, especially well and how politics moves along at the moment.

The book takes us to the far right of British politics and also to France where there’s the Gilet Jaune movement and the author takes this element into Britain. There’s also a focus on the everyday prejudices, pay as well as the cuts to police resources.

A clever thing happens within the telling of this story in that Lucie decides she has to work with Brexit hardliner: Labour’s Amber Robyn because she sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee and opposed brothels, even though Lucie doesn’t necessarily agree with her stance on Brexit. I like how there is a professionalism portrayed between these two characters. Again, I couldn’t help but still be swept up into this well conceived story.

The language and tone of all the characters is believable, there’s no holding back!

Whether you’re a Remainer or Leaver, this is a very good read with the ingredients for a thriller, set upon a current political backdrop, working very well together. This is the second book within this series. The first being Blood, White and Blue. This book can be read as part of the series or stand-alone, which is good from beginning to end.

Don’t Let Me Die in Disneyland By J.A. Marzan – Not all is What it Seems in This Gritty U.S. Book – Review @julio_marzan @book_glow #USA #Review #NewBooks #USPolitics

Don’t Let Me Die in Disneyland
By J.A. Marzan
Rating 3 stars
 ***


Review is written by Louise at Bookmarks and Stages.
https://bookmarksandstages.home.blog

About the Author

J.A. Marzán, a graduate of Fordham U., (B.A.), Columbia U. (M.F.A), and New York U. (Ph.D.), was Poet Laureate of Queens, N.Y. from 2004-2007. His novel, The Bonjour Gene, was a University of Wisconsin Press submission to the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. 
 
“Marzán displays the wit and intellectual verve rarely seen in contemporary literature.”—Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos. 
 
Nonfiction credits include: The Spanish American Roots of William Carlos Williams, (U. Texas Press). Poetry credits include: Translations without Originals (English) and Puerta de Tierra (Spanish). Poems in English appear in several editions of various college texts, among them The Bedford Introduction to LiteratureLatino Boom, and Literature: Reading to Write and in distinguished journals, among them PloughsharesTin House, and Harper’s Magazine. A profile of him was published in the fall 2009 issue of Columbia Magazine.​
 

J.A. Marzán makes his home in Queens, New York.

Dont let me die in disneyland

Blurb

A picaresque, smart, and smartass memoir of Harvard lawyer Eddie Loperena’s Newyorican life in “the country I was offered.”

Brought to New York from Puerto Rico when he was seven, Eddie Loperena grew up dreaming of returning to his island paradise.

As he approaches forty, the loss of his wife and his business partner have landed Eddie at a crossroads, so he closes his legal practice when he gets a call from his estranged boyhood friend Carlos, now a well-known drug dealer. Carlos extracts a favour from Eddie to hold two suitcases full of “valuable papers.”

Surviving a vindictive D.A.’s threat to prosecute, citywide rumors that he has disappeared with his friend’s illicit money, and a media circus intent to cast the complex situation into a two-dimensional context, Eddie decides to write the third dimension of a tragicomic satire of the seventies, of the island of his birth that cast him adrift, and of his minority membership in “the country I was offered.”

Review

Don’t Let me Die in Disneyland begins with a well written poem of the same title, setting the scene of the story to come in some ways, but not in others. This book is in-fact not Disneyland as we know it, full of all the well-known princesses, prince’s, Mickey Mouse etc. It is however split into 5 sections by the names of Disney areas: Main Street, USA 1987, Adventureland, Fronteerland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

Our main character – Eddie Loperena worked within a legal practice and is seeking change in many ways. This is far from the lightness and fun of Disneyland. The setting is the Bronx  where there is a lot of knife and gun crime. Readers will get a real sense of unlawlessness, with cop killers included.

The book has many political ideals within it, which are still around today, such as equality for all. So, this book is actually relevant today.

The book is very dark and twists and turns, showing much of human life and events, such as the character Soc wanting to leave a will. Not far in and I realise it is a tale of woe, hardship, ill health, political leanings, with an elements of feeling like a social vicitim. There are also elements of other life events too such as school, university, romance.

Readers are taken within The Bronx, with its hard times and also its political leanings and a want for equality within the Hispanic community. It doesn’t all make for comfortable reading either, with a character believing they have to see themselves as a Latin intrusion to feel truly American. This however in someways has to be put into context of the times of when this book is set, in otherways, it is perhaps showing that America still finds it hard to accept people with other ethnicities. There does appear to be a bit of a social commentary running through it. Readers shouldn’t get offended however and would be advised to put it all into context, but also perhaps the story can be used within conversations in what is happening within today’s America as well as learning of something of the not so distant past.

Esteban seems an odd, but intriguing character and one who clearly doesn’t like undercover cops and carries a weapon which he isn’t afraid to show. Did Esteban commit a crime or not?

There’s a political group called The Front with their bombs to plant in key, strategic places, which just adds to the atmosphere of what was going on.

The book itself is well written and works well in its construction. Reading it, you get the sense of a dark, gritty atmosphere as well as setting. 

Readers will also get to know a bit about congress and the governor. Theres’ a sense of a desire to improve the Bronx. The writing during these parts of the book, is perhaps at its sharpest.

Find out whether the quest for perfect equality and a perfected democracy comes into being or not and if it was worth all the strife.

It certainly made for very different reading for me. Was it entirely a book for me? Well, not completely, but it is never a bad thing to try something different to see where it leads. I did however appreciate the writing and the points it was making and issues it was highlighting. People who enjoy reading about the US and its politics and all its issues with an air of grittiness will get much enjoyment out of this book.

This review will also feature in online magazine – Book Glow when published there. It is with pleasure that I was asked to write reviews for them. Thanks to Kelly Huddleston from the magazine for writing to me and offering me that opportunity. Thanks to them for sending me an e-copy of this book.

My review is impartial.