The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman @CharityNorman1 @AllenAndUnwin #TheSecretsofStrangers #RandomThingsTours #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #Review #MustRead

The Secrets of Strangers
by Charity Norman
Rated: 5 stars *****

Tense, compelling, touching, The Secret of Strangers is an excellent read. I can well see why the author has made it to the Radio 2 Bookclub and with a previous book – The Richard and Judy Bookclub. It is with thanks to the publisher Allen & Unwin that I have the great opportunity for reviewing The Secrets of Strangers – a stand-alone novel. It’s a Must Read thriller set in a cafe and one, I am ecstatic to share with you as a tale of one gunman and three hostages unfolds. I loved this book so, so much!!! Read on for more info and my full review, that I’ve approached from a slightly different angle this time of writing it.

About the Author

The Secret of Strangers Charity Norman Author PicCharity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. After several years’ travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law. In 2002, realising that her three children had barely met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. THE SECRETS OF STRANGERS is her sixth novel.

 

Secrets of Strangers Cover

Blurb

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for five strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage.

But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Another tense, multi-dimensional drama from the writer of the Richard & Judy bestseller After the Fall.

Review

This book is absolutely terrific and so unputdownable. Sleep eluded me. I didn’t want to get to the end because I seriously didn’t want to have to leave this book and yet I really, really needed to see how it would all end. It was seriously that good and it’s a book I imagine I will read again someday. I was pulled into this book gripping book within the first few pages and time knew no bounds as it ticked on by as the pages turned ever so easily from one to the next, never stopping to look at a clock.

Told through 6 main characters – Abi, Eliza, Mutesi, Sam, Neil, Rosie as they more or less take on the chapters, this is a captivating book which is incredibly well-written and the more I read, the more I want to keep going through the intensity of what is ultimately an eloquently told story within the premise of a hostage situation in a cafe. This is a story of the time of being taken hostage and the very human story surrounding this and how people get to know each other a little more and about the secrets they have.

Meet the characters:

Neil is quickly established as being homeless, but used to work for a company making medical equipment. He used to be a teacher prior to being made homeless and has quite a story to tell.

Abi works as a barrister and has worked on many cases. She has also been struggling to conceive, even with IVF with Charlie. It’s emotive.

Mutesi cleans in the church – St. Judes and is a nurse in a carehome and you wonder what more there is to her, which is discovered in the book.

Eliza works for the MET in the serious crime unit and is also a hostage negotiator. She has a family – a teenage son and a husband – Richard who is self-employed. It was all love at first sight, whilst travelling on a train on the beautiful East Coast Railway. A line I have travelled often on, as has many people. She has quite a role to play as is involved in negotations.

Sam at 8 years old, helps around his parent’s farm and is keen to be a farmer and less keen on school, where he gets support for his dyslexia. I do love how his dad likes when the school is on summer holidays and comes across as having a terrific attitude to them. This is until tragedy strikes. Everything changed! Psychologically everything changed. There is a powerful theme within that, handled sensitively and so well as destruction ensues. More secrets come out and there’s some cause and effect that is presented in the story. There’s some sinister goings on with him being manipulated for years. It is interesting to see how and why he ends up where he is as an adult.

Rosie – despises her dad- until she really needs his help that is and is interesting how that unfolds

The rest of my thoughts on what is an exceptional book

There’s a lovely sounding cafe called Tuckbox, whose usual hustle and bustle is disturbed one day when a gun man walks in and the atmosphere rapidly changes and there’s a real sense of urgency in the writing as circumstances change.

 The tension that builds is just phenomenal, as is the clarity of writing and that with the music references that are scattered throughout works so well together.
What else that is is so great about reading this book, is it is so easy to follow because it flows so well from character to character. The book really is like looking into The Tuckshop Cafe and seeing exactly where each character is and what’s happening in each of their lives at every step of the hostage situation they find themselves in.

You feel the anguish of each person as the hostage situation builds and also at times, an almost claustrophobic atmosphere as they try and find hiding places to keep safe. Also as tension builds up, so do the characters as readers get a deeper insight into their lives.

There’s the sense of danger and delicacy of negotiating the hostage taker, that is written so naturally and well.

What else can be said, except, this is an exceptional book that I highly recommend as a Must Read.

Do follow the rest of the tour too.

The Secrets of Strangers BT Poster

 

The Sound of Music @OfficialALW #TheShowMustGoOn #YouTube #OnlineEvent #VirtualTheatre #Review #Musicals #TheSoundOfMusic

The Sound of Music
By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rodgers and Hammerstein
Rated: 4 stars ****
Available on You Tube Now
until later on Sunday

The Sound of Music

“Raindrops on roses” certainly goes with the weather today. Perhaps battered roses where I am with the ferocity of of the wind and rain. It’s a good day for staying indoors and watching a bit of online theatre instead of to “Climb Every Mountain”, that can wait until things are safe again to protect each other and ourselves and the NHS. So, hopefully everyone is well and able to keep dry and can enjoy that aforementioned song and many others.

It is as the film is, jolly and upbeat, but with the dark undertones of war brewing and the Nazis wanting to occupy Austria. The film still rules, but the stage version has pretty good performances too and when you know all the songs like Doh-Re-Mi to learn your scales and the fun I am Sixteen Going on Seventeen and the emotional Eidelweiss, they’ll be sure to cheer up the day, at least for a little while and see if you too can enjoy some “Favourite Things”. On that note I’ll bid you “So long, Farewell” for now until a book review on Sunday about a book that everyone is finding hard to put down, it is that good.

For now you can find The Sound of Music on You Tube on The Show Must Go On channel. It is available from now until some time on Sunday.

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes – It does what it says on the cover @MarianKeyes @PenguinUKBooks #GrownUps #Review #Fiction

Grown Ups
By Marian Keyes
Rated: 4 stars ****

I thought I would check Grown Ups out via Audible. It is also available on e-book and print/physical form. So, I present my review of the book about what it means to be a grown up and what a life it can be. So, without much further ado, I introducereaders to the blurb and  my review as well as a bit about Marian Keyes. You will also find a link to her website.

About the Author

Marian Keyes is one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time. Though she was brought up in a home where a lot of oral story-telling went on, it never occurred to her that she could write.
Marian Keyes is the international bestselling author of Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man, The Brightest Star in the Sky , The Mystery of Mercy Close, The Woman Who Stole My Life, The Break and her latest Number One bestseller, Grown Ups. Her two collections of journalism, Making it up as I Go Along and Under the Duvet: Deluxe Edition are also available from Penguin.

Click here for her website

 

Grownups.jpg

Blurb

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers, Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much…

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife, Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

Review

I thought I would listen to an audiobook whilst doing a bit of exercise and so, chose Grown Ups to see if it lived up to the hype. I pretty much does. The audiobook is actually narrated by Marian Keyes herself, which is very pleasant and actually fairly relaxing and she has narrated her story very well. It’s a book that is perhaps a little overly long, but you know what, to listen to it, the book, pretty much grabs you and I just had to find out how it all ended, even though by this time, to listen to it, it became quite a pleasant ritual and you can’t help by then, having a sense of involvement, so I’m pleased I did decide to give this a chance.

It certainly is an interesting family and is impressive in the amount of themes and different adult types it covers. Grown Ups is the perfect title for it. It does what it says on the “tin” or rather cover. I did also  wonder, in certain parts who would want to be a grown up with so much to deal with, after reading this as I decided that the cover looks somewhat appropriate.


Grown Ups covers so much of adult life and is certainly inclusive in that way, almost like no other book I’ve read or listened to. It’s quite original in that sense. It also makes you hungry to begin with, with all the food in the restaurant business. The family are far from as perfect as they seem to begin with, when it all seems like fun and romantic. Secrets just tumble out from Cara and everything starts to unravel as truths are presented.

Apart from the fun and lovely food, there are relationship troubles in every sense, there’s mental health issues in terms of bulemia mostly and therapy, it mentions the couples, the singles, business doing well and not doing so well and having to face challenges of restructuring. Even period poverty gets a mention. It did like almost every aspect of adult life was mentioned and yet it did all tie together to create a story that has some humour and some light entertainment throughout the emotions and at times is quite profound. There is also hope and light through some of the darkness presented as readers will head to the very satisfying conclusion.
The storytelling is very good and if you read it in book form, I know, from the way it was told, it would be to a very good standard too.

#Review of Journeys in the Wild – The Secret Life of A Cameraman by Gavin Thurston – Take a look at the amazing adventures in the natural world of this award winning cameraman. Rated 5 stars @GavinThurston @SeveDialsBooks @OrionBooks @gigicroft #JourneysInTheWild #NonFiction #Nature

Journeys in the Wild
The Secret Life of a Cameraman
By Gavin Thurston
Rated: 5 stars *****

 

What a wonderfully observed, written book, full of first hand experience I have reviewed by the award-winning and dare I say, now, multi-talented Gavin Thurston. I am so pleased to have picked it up and read it. There’s adventure, trepidation, humour and such warmth within this non-fiction, diarised book. I must say I was impressed by the calibre of writing and the ability to hold my attention beginning to end. It could have been dry, but this book certainly isn’t that. It was fairly unputdownable, as I suspected it would be, so had to wait until I had a sizeable amount of time to devote to the book I have enjoyed so much. I have the blurb and my review as well as links to Gavin Thurston’s website to share with you all today. The book is available to buy now in hardback, E-book and Audiobook and available in paperback 28th May and can be pre-ordered. See links for options below the blurb and review.

Journey in wild cover

Blurb

From award-winning Blue Planet 11 and Planet Earth 11 cameraman Gavin Thurston comes extraordinary true stories of what it takes to film our planet’s most captivating creatures.

Against the backdrop of civil wars, coups, plane crashes and kidnap attempts, Gavin has lurked in the shadows of some of the world’s remotest places in order to capture footage of the animal kingdom’s finest: prides of lions; silverback gorillas; capuchin monkeys; penguins; mosquitoes – you name it, he’s filmed it.

From journeys to the deepest depths of the Antarctic Ocean to the peaks of the Himalayas and the wild forests of the Congo, Gavin invites you to come inside the cameraman’s secret world. Discover the hours spent patiently waiting for the protagonists to appear, the inevitable dangers hiding in the wings and the heart-warming, life affirming moments the cameras miss as well as capture.

There is also high praise from Michael Palin, Joanna Lumley and David Attenborough.

Review

Gavin Thurston – talented with a camera to get footage onto screens and talented with a pen and computer at putting brilliant observations down on the page and with a bit of humour within the adventures and the encountered dangers.

I bought this book with a book token I was gifted by a friend. I had been eyeing it up for long enough. Gavin Thurston is an incredibly talented cameraman and it turns out, writer too. There’s also an incredible forward by David Attenborough, who explains why we are now seeing cameramen on our tv screens, and it isn’t due to any obvious reasoning. He also has a lot of good things to say about Gavin Thurston and upon reading his book, I can see why. This is an absolute Must Read book in my opinion. From the minute I picked up the book I was hooked in. The writing for the way each part of his life is told is absolutely brilliant. This man can write and does so in a way that grabs attention. Time when reading this book flies by and is barely noticed. It is even better than what I thought it would be.

The book begins way back in 1972. Gavin Thurston then takes us to the 1980’s, 1990’s and all the way to 2017, in what is ultimately, a fascinating account/diary into his working life to date. The hardback version was published in 2019 and the paperback is due in 2020.

I could tell from the first few pages I was going to really like this book, well, in fact I love it very much. Gavin Thurston’s life as a cameraman is amazing with all the brilliant people and animals he has met, but this is such a down to earth book. It has imagery and humour in the writing. He has really encapsulated a world, that I guess, if you didn’t work within that field or didn’t watch the now documented bits at the end of wildlife programmes that are becoming more prevalent, this is part of a world you wouldn’t normally see and certainly at the times that are written about, on the whole, you wouldn’t know what went on behind the scenes.

In Corfu, Gavin was part of the team filming the animals for the 1980’s adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s book – My Family and Other Animals.

He travelled to the Soviet – the USSR as was in the 1990. There are great anecdotes about the flight and even what he had to go through beforehand with the BBC. There’s trepidation to be found in capturing a camera shot of chicks and even more danger when driving onwards to Afghanistan and there’s some stomach-churning alcohol distilling.

1997 finds him filming sequences for David Attenborough’s Life of Birds in the Galapagos Islands. There are more than beautiful birds to watch out for, there’s also an issue of Gavin’s good friend Nigel’s tooth to fix by themselves on the remote islands. There are brilliant snapshots of things that went on behind the scenes that, if it weren’t for them being documented in this book, most people certainly wouldn’t know about because this is also a book that takes readers beyond the filming too.

In Kenya in 1988 there are beautifully written observations on elephants and then the high drama of killer bees and then off to Panama at the time of the Lockerbie bombing. This book certainly shows that being a wildlife cameraman, may be an amazing job, but not one for the faint-hearted as it seems it can be fraught with all sorts of dangers. There are however very cool insights into David Attenborough here and there too, during and after the cameras stop rolling. There is a lovely warmth that seems to exist within camera crews, which is very nicely depicted.

The 1990’s explores China, Italy and the USA, filming cute pandas and more…

2001 in the Congo, there’s deadly fungus that may well make your skin crawl and chimps that need saving. The writing is vivid and adept.

There are glimpses of back home in Bristol to tell how last-minute jobs came in, like going to Antarctica to film penguins.

In Hawaii in 1997 Violent Planet was being filmed and this time it is bubbling molten lava being filmed. The writing is vivid and captures the atmosphere.

The book, apart from showing nature and the ups and the challenges of being in the wild, takes you to places where you don’t necessarily always think about too much, if at all, such as the balancing homelife and being away for weeks, months even, on end. It also bravely gives insight to some of the precarious nature of being a cameraman too.

There’s insights into elephants for a BBC programme that seem so beautiful and amazing, and yet, filmed in a place of danger, not from the elephants, but a human kidnapper… Life gets dangerous again when filming for The Private Life of Plants and even more so again when filming wildlife during a civil war. It is all captured so well in the writing, in such a way that makes you want to read on to see what both is lived through and captured on camera.

Gavin Thurston also writes great observations about tribes and large logging companies and some of the consequences.

The book concludes almost how it began, which is really lovely and beautifully written, as is, indeed throughout the whole of this book. I am glad I picked it up and read it and I hope many other people will too. By the end, whatever respect you have for wildlife cameramen/people will surely be heightened further.

Below are links to Gavin Thurston’s website and how you can purchase this fine book. I will add I loved the book and I hope others do too, I don’t get any money from sales or indeed at all.

www.gavinthurston.com

Click Here for Purchasing Options

 

 

An Excerpt of The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce by Tom Gillespie @tom_gillespie @lovebooksgroup #BlogTour

Introducing an Extract/Excerpt of
The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce
By Tom Gillespie

Today I have a very exciting excerpt of an absolutely wonderful book that is full of intrigue. I will have a full review in the summer, so watch out for that too. In the mean-time, please enjoy a bit from the book and also find out about its Scottish author.

THE STRANGE BOOK OF JACOB BOYCE_eBcov (2) (1)

Extract/Excerpt 

A spiralling obsession. A missing wife. A terrifying secret. Will he find her before it’s too late?

When Dr Jacob Boyce’s wife goes missing, the police put it down to a simple marital dispute. Jacob, however, fears something darker. Following her trail to Spain, he becomes convinced that Ella’s disappearance is tied to a mysterious painting whose hidden geometric and numerical riddles he’s been obsessively trying to solve for months. Obscure, hallucinogenic clues, and bizarre, larger-than-life characters, guide an increasingly unhinged Jacob through a nightmarish Spanish landscape to an art forger’s studio in Madrid, where he comes face-to-face with a centuries-old horror, and the terrifying, mind-bending, truth about his wife.

About the Author

Tom Gillespie grew up in a small town just outside Glasgow. After completing a Masters in English at Glasgow University, he spent the next ten years pursuing a musical career as a singer/songwriter, playing, recording and touring the UK and Europe with his band. He now lives in Bath with his wife, daughter and hyper-neurotic cat, where he works at the university as an English lecturer. Tom writes long and short stories. His stories have appeared in many magazines, journals and e-zines. He is co-author of Glass Work Humans-an anthology of stories and poems, published by Valley Press. Visit Tom at tom-gillespie.com

Buy Link

https://amzn.to/2zspp0N

A Ration Book Wedding By Jean Fullerton reviewers agree #arationbookwedding is #5stars all the way. #ARationBookWedding #review @AtlanticBooks @CorvusBooks #HistoricalRomance #WW2 #EastEnd #London #nostalgia #saga #NewRelease #blitzspirit #familyseries #HistFic #RationBookSeries amzn.to/2RFkaRw

A Ration Book Wedding
By Jean Fullerton

Today I am on a blog tour for Jean Fullerton, thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources book tours. Today I present some info about A Ration Book Wedding. A book that early reviewers have been rating highly and simply have a lot of love for.

About the Author

Rationbook wedding Portrait_Jean-1022 RNA resizedJean Fullerton is the author of thirteen novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer.  She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is halfway through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

Social Media Links –

Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton-202631736433230/?ref=bookmarks
Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_

rationwedding2 pic

Blurb

A Ration Book Wedding

Because in the darkest days of the Blitz, love is more important than ever.

It’s February 1942 and the Americans have finally joined Britain and its allies. Meanwhile, twenty-three-year-old Francesca Fabrino, like thousands of other women, is doing her bit for the war effort in a factory in East London. But her thoughts are constantly occupied by her unrequited love for Charlie Brogan, who has recently married a woman of questionable reputation, before being shipped out to North Africa with the Eighth Army.

When Francesca starts a new job as an Italian translator for the BBC Overseas Department, she meets handsome Count Leonardo D’Angelo. Just as Francesca has begun to put her hopeless love for Charlie to one side and embrace the affections of this charming and impressive man, Charlie returns from the front, his marriage in ruins and his heart burning for Francesca at last. Could she, a good Catholic girl, countenance an illicit affair with the man she has always longed for? Or should she choose a different, less dangerous path?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ration-Book-Wedding-Perfect-Gibson-ebook/dp/B081DDLWQD

US – https://www.amazon.com/Ration-Book-Wedding-Perfect-Gibson-ebook/dp/B081DDLWQD

3 (1).png