#Review By Lou of A Little Piece Of Mind By Giles Paley-Phillips @eliistender10 @unbounders @RandomTTours #ALittlePieceOfMind #BlogTour

A Little Piece Of Mind
By Giles Paley-Phillips

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A Little Piece Graphic 1 (2)

Today I am on the blog tour with a review for A Little Piece of Mind by award winning author and podcaster of Blank Podcast – Giles Paley- Phillips. Thanks to Unbound and Random T. Tours for inviting me to review.

A little Graphic 2

Blurb

From award-winning author Giles Paley-Phillips, this haunting verse novel follows Hobs, a young man struggling to navigate his own mind and the increasingly mysterious affairs he encounters in his supposedly idyllic suburban home town.
When Jenni, the girl of his dreams, suddenly disappears, Hobs finds himself on the trail of Mike Bilk, a charismatic businessman-turned-politician whose alleged role in a local tragedy points to greater questions of political greed and corruption.

As time begins to lose its shape, Hobs is left to piece together his fragmented memories while battling the disorienting anguish of adolescent love and infatuation. With reality crumbling around him, Hobs must confront the possibility that there’s no one left he can trust – least of all himself.

Review

The story cuts and makes you involuntarily take a sharp-intake of breath! Then Hobs, short for Hobart appears…
Think verse books are just for children or students of Shakespeare? Think again. This is becoming a bit of a trend, re-emerging in adult books and they are very good and bring a different freshness, as this one does to contemporary fiction.

A Little Piece Of Mind tells a story of Hobs and through short verses, an entire story is created, so it’s useful for readers with little time on their hands as it’s easy to dip in and out, or, in this case, read perhaps more than what you first intended as the verses enthrall as the story builds and builds and also because they are short.

A Little Piece of Mind allows readers into the mind and life of Hobs. It’s a beautifully written book, showing his mental state and his life of finding the girl of his dreams – Jenni; where the story moves along and it shows a bit about her relationship with her mother. Readers see and feel the emotion of Hobs when Jenni goes mysteriously missing. You can feel and see the urgency and desire of Hobs to see Jenni again. The writing becomes quite intense in places. The pain is there and feels real for Hobs as aspects of life seem to swirl around him as he pieces bits of what is going on together.
Hot-shot – Mike Bilk is quite the high profile character, who he ends up on the trail of. He’s an intruguing character with quite a lot of influence and power, for readers to get to know.

A Little Piece of Mind captures something quite cerebral on one-hand and on the other, sheer emotion and characters to get your teeth into and also care about in this pacey book that creates a desire to keep turning the pages to see what happens next.

A Little Piece of Me BT Poster

#CoverReveal plus blurb of Together Again By Milly Johnson @millyjohnson @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC @BookMinxSJV

Today it gives me great pleasure to reveal the wonderful cover and the blurb for Milly Johnson’s new book – Together, AgainThe book will be released in September 2022. For now, take a look at what it is about in the blurb below… I for one am looking forward to reading this book.

Together Again Milly Johnson cover

Sisters, Jolene, Marsha and Annis have convened at their childhood home the huge and beautiful Fox House following the death of their mother, the cold and impenetrable Eleanor Vamplew, to arrange the funeral and sell up. Born seven years apart, the women have never bonded and are more strangers than sisters.

Jolene, the eldest, is a successful romantic novelist who writes templates of beautiful relationships even though her marriage to the handsome and charming  Warren is a barren wasteland.

Marsha, the neglected middle child has put every bit of her energy into her work hoping money would plug up the massive gap in her life left by the man who broke her young heart, only to find it never has. And now he has been forced back into her life.

Annis is the renegade, who left home aged sixteen and never returned, not even for the death of their beloved father Julian, until now. It is therefore a surprise to all of them to discover that Eleanor recently changed her will to leave everything to the daughter she considered a wretched accident.

Together, Again is the story of truths uncovered and lies exposed, of secrets told – and kept. It is a novel about sister helping sister to heal from childhood scars, and of finding, in each other, the love they have all been deprived of. Together, Again is about vulnerability and strength, acceptance and family. 

#Writeup of an #authortalk with Chris Brookmyre and Jenny Colgan, #Books, #Music #Festivals #Writing and more @jennycolgan @cbrookmyre

A Write-up of a talk between Chris Brookmyre and Jenny Colgan
Event took place on 27th July 2022

The event was held by Stirling Waterstones upstairs in a pub in Stirling, Scotland called The Curly Coo (or The Curly Cow for those abroad wondering what a coo is).
Chris Brookmyre’s book is – The Cliff House and Jenny Colgan’s book is – An Island Wedding.
Both are available to purchase now!
Review Link for The Cliff House – link is also after my write-up here as are links to The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, Bloody Scotland and website and social media links.

Jenny and Chris books

Although both authors do not have the commonality of crime fiction/mystery within their new books, they do share the theme of a party.

The talk covered their books, writing, music and more…

I have included a link to my book review of The Cliff House By Chris Brookmyre within this for those who haven’t seen the separate post of it. I am yet to read The Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan.

Me and Jenny

Me and Chris

Me and Jenny Colgan

Me and Chris Brookmyre

The atmosphere was jovial and warm. The talk was mostly humorous and they treated those who attended to a reading of extracts from their books. They talked about the last time they met to do a talk together was in 2006 in Shetland. Chris Brookmyre recalled that William McIllvanney was on the audience guestlist and how that felt.

They talked about if and when they re-read their books. 2008 was the last time Chris Brookmyre last read one of his old books as he was writing a sequel.
A rather scary aspect of the talk was when Jenny Colgan talked about a book she had written and how the USA branded the 1990s as historical fiction.
They talked about each others books and how Chris Brookmyre writes books from different characters points of view, which you will see in The Cliff House.

Weddings and Parties

What is interesting and was brought up as they talked, was the fact that in lockdown, weddings were cancelled and people postponed them (a family member of mine, included) and how everyone knew what that was like, and how now there are many books set around parties.
I, myself have seen and got some books to review that are and seems to be quite a big theme this year as Chris Brookmyre talks about how people are writing vicariously about parties after being in lockdown and mentions authors such as Lin Anderson and Claire MacIntosh.
Jenny Colgan talked excitedly about how she writes about all different weddings; she also loved doing the research for them, especially for the most extravagant weddings and just to enjoy wedding again. It was interesting hearing how her attitude has changed to wanting to go to them all and with a gift, from pre-pandemic and wondering whether she wanted to or not and the cost of a gift etc.
Chris Brookmyre interestingly talked about how he was inspired by people going to private islands. His island is fictionalised and he seems to like that he could make up his own rules. He talked about this for the many genres he writes.
Jenny Colgan also creates a bit of fiction in her places and advised people not to write about where you live, unless perhaps it is a city and alluded to how that would be different as there isn’t so much of a very tight-knit close community, whereas people may recognise themselves or think they do in somewhere small.
Chris Brookmyre talked a bit about his book and its concepts of his character Jen getting married again and can’t accept the concept of happiness as seems all too good to be true, but has a hen party anyway. He talked about friendships and how there are different levels of this, some you see a lot, but don’t actually truly know and people who you may not trust, which are concepts within the book.
The island itself, he describes is as like an upmarket Airbnb. It is a book of 7 points of view. When asked about why the characters were all women, he stated he wanted to write about women and not men and alluded that it would be a very different story if the characters were men.
He talked a bit about “And Then There We’re None by Agatha Christie” and how books, such as his are often compared to this, but talked about how they differ and one of the ways is that was a story of retribution but his book is essentially about forgiveness of themselves.
He later talked about liking mismatched crime books.

Writing and Marketing

The talk moved onwards to the interesting topic of covers, but without getting into it all too deeply and heavy. They mainly focussed on the pink covers, since both of them have pink on them and there are a few around in many genres just now. They pointed out that the “pink” etc doesn’t necessarily show much about what is lurking inside the content of a book.
They talked about marketing a little bit in-terms of genres, marketing spaces. Jenny Colgan declared she didn’t really believe in genre. For Chris Brookmyre, he said the term “Tartan Noir” was good for marketing but his book – The Cliff House is more uplifting and about friendships, so less “noir”.
They talked about timers within books. The writer has got to solve the murder at a certain stage, in a rom-com the writer has got to get their characters together before Xmas. When writing different genres, Jenny Colgan reckons she doesn’t find that too difficult, but does however find it hard to kill off characters.
She also alluded that it is a bit different for Doctor Who as this is an already created person. It was fascinating hearing about the pecking order and the way Doctor Who works for writers.
Like Jenny Colgan, and perhaps even more so, Chris Brookmyre writes in many genres and how he is Ambrose Parry when he writes historical fiction, with Marissa, his wife, who sounds like she likes rules, plotting and planning, so he revealed he does a bit more of that now, but still likes the element of surprise in the direction his characters take him in. He also talked about something exciting happening with Netflix.
Jenny Colgan on the other-hand isn’t a fan of overly researching, but does do some.
Jenny Colgan added to how she writes and had a bit of advise for new writers and says you can start at 200 words and write to that target and then get on with the rest of the day (she writes thousands and then gets on with her day, but says hundreds is also fine). They both talked about getting the first draft down, in brief, they say that this needs to be finished and then it can be fixed after that and also write about what you know.

Music 

Chris Brookmyre is a member of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and they will be playing at The Edinburgh Fringe 2022.

Jenny Colgan can play the piano and recently learnt how to play the harp.

Thanks

I thank both authors for the photos and for signing my books, which I now treasure.

 Links

#BookReview By Lou of The Cliff House By Chris Brookmyre – Happy Publication Day to @cbrookmyre @LittleBrownUK #Mystery #TheCliffHouse #MustRead

The Cliff House
By Chris Brookmyre

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Problem is, everybody has a secret. But nobody wants to tell...

The Cliff House By Chris Brookmyre is a hen party like no other, set on a Scottish island, that has guests you wouldn’t ordinariliy invite together and twists like a country lane. Read on to find out more in the blurb and then the rest of my review below. Thanks firstly to Little Brown Books UK for an e-book proof copy of the book.

The Cliff House

Chris Brookmyre is a genius - Richard Osman

Blurb

One hen weekend, seven secrets… but only one worth killing for

Image of book and ereaderJen’s hen party is going to be out of control…

She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.

As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law.

It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed.

Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.

Review

Jen’s hen party is full of people whom you may not instantly think would be on an invite. There are definitely some interesting choices, especially the embittered ex-sister-in-law at the same party as the future sister-in-law. Immediate thought is that there are going to be fireworks at Clachan Geal, a remote fictional island in Scotland. There is much to explore on this remote island, which is an interesting and compact area for an intriguing mystery to take place.

There is Jen, whose hen party it is. Beattie, Helena – a music teacher and one time member of Michelle’s band, since ousted;  Michelle. What a life Michelle leads with her now starry status. There is also Kennedy and Nicolette from Jen’s tennis playing days, Joaiquin – a chef. Lauren, the houseowner of the house on the remote island.
Although there are a number of characters, each are separated in the chapters, so it cycles through each of their points of views and their lives and their connections. It’s a curious and intriguing group of people to spend time with in a book.

Chris Brookmyre expertly shows the frictions in the relationships of the guests, different lifestyles and forgiveness. There are interesting arguments about vaccines that flair up. There are lifestyles in contention… The book also shows how the characters are even more forced to come together when things go really wrong. Those arguments soon left, there is panic, leaving no one feeling safe. There is also the question of who can they trust?

Things take a sinister turn with messages from someone posing as a “Reaper”. The more the story goes on, the more addictive a reading experience it becomes and unexpected secrets are revealed, that culminate into an unexpected, but brilliant end to a rivetting book.

 

#BookReview By Lou of Verity Vanishes By A.B. Morgan @AliMorgan2304 @HobeckBooks #TeamHobeck #QuirkFiles #VerityVanishes #CrimeFiction #TheQuirks #BlogTour

Verity Vanishes
By A.B. Morgan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am excited to be on the blog tour for the third in the series of The Quirk Files (it can also be read as a standalone). It’s another rivetting read. Thanks to the publisher – Hobeck Books for inviting me to review. Find out more in the blurb and my review below.

Verity Vanishes

Blurb

If you love Janice Hallett and Richard Osman, you are going to ADORE The Quirks!

The Quirks are back, and there is another crime to solve for P.Q. Investigations.

When Verity Hudson goes missing, Peddyr Quirk – with assistance from his effervescent wife Connie – investigates a strange new case which unfolds in an unsavoury part of town. It soon becomes apparent that they are not the only ones looking for Verity.

A freelance researcher is searching for her birth mother.

An influential man of power and money is desperate to find his estranged sister.

A local politician is determined to expose a hidden tragedy.

A TV journalist will stop at nothing to expose the true story … if it can be uncovered.

Where is Verity, who is Verity, and who will find her first?

Review

I’ve read a few books about the Quirks now (this is book 3 of The Quirk Files), and I have come to be caught up in the charm of them. This series is absolutely a must read, if you are a fan of Richard Osman. The characterisation is full, deep and yet quirky and it may make readers want to belong in Peddyr and Connie’s world of private investigation.

The book starts with a secret, now uncovered! A huge one that you just know will change someone’s life and the way they believed it was, forever! The opening paragrapgh is like a bolt of lightning striking that you didn’t see coming, and Cara certainly wasn’t prepared for.

There also seems to be something about Verity that everyone is interested in the fact she mysteriously disappears such as tv channel, Channel 7 wants to follow the investigation, a local politician has a keen interest and so does a family who has a lot of wealth.
The Quirks are on the case, so have the heaviest involvement to solve it. They have their wokr cut out. When people are questioned about Verity’s disappearance, for all that so many eyes are on the case, so few people are willing to actually talk when questioned, so they need to look elsewhere for information. The mystery is sinister and keeps you guessing as to what happened and keeps you reading to find out the truth and if Verity can be found and in what state as she isn’t necessarily like how she first appears. There are many layers and emotions to this compelling mystery.

Throughout, the Quirks – Peddyr and Connie are a good team to follow and work together well as they bounce ideas off each other to solve a case and uncover secrets and lies and clues. There area few laughs to be had too. It’s quite cosy in the style of chat between them and this makes them quite endearing to read more about them.

Overall, Verity Vanishes has crime, layers of lives with hidden secrets and lots of  heart sandwiched between the quirky cover. It oozes with a rivetting plot!

Verity Vanishes2 Blog Tour

 

#Review By Lou of The Tail of Mum, Dad and A Dog Called Rupert By Helen Morrish @helenmbooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #RupertsBook #ChildrensBook #Kidslit #Dogs #Grief

The Tail of Mum, Dad and A Dog Called Rupert
By Helen Morrish

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for the delightful book – The Tail of Mum, Dad and a Dog Called Rupert. It is an entertaining story for children aged 5 plus then also then has a serious side of grief, giving opportunities for discussion in either preparation for this or if someone has died in the family or just to give pause for thought. Kids will love to see what Rupert gets up to and what he becomes through some resillience too. Thanks to Random T Tours and Helen Morrish for the review invite and for a copy of the book. Find out more below in my review.

Rupert COVER

  Ruper Back Cover

Review

Rupert 3D Book CoverRupert is a a mixed breed Staffordshire Bull Terrier. He has a bit of Maltese Terrier and Cocker Spaniel mixed in. He’s a rescue dog and it’s about him settling into his new home and loving his new owners. Readers get to know about the dog’s likes and how he has fun, much in the way Rupert is discovering as he grows more confident in his new home and feels comfortable, and much like owners would discover too. There is much humour. The story then twists to a sad note as it also deals with grief, which can be looked upon as how pets and owners handle it. One of his owners dies and this is a subject matter that can be discussed with children whilst reading the book or just to quietly contemplate and empathise and sympathise with. Fear not though, it also has an uplifting ending.
There are illustrations throughout that are often entertaining.

About the Author

After the sudden death of her husband, realising with a jolt that life really was too short, Helen
left her job as an art director to pursue a long-held dream of becoming an artist. To help her
through her grief, she spent five minutes every day drawing their beloved dog, Rupert, and these
are the illustrations that have evolved into her debut book.
When she’s not working on her next book, Helen freelances as a designer and illustrator and runs
her vintage clothes shop Lady Crimplene. Having a passion for all things retro, she has a huge
collection of Sindy dolls and kitsch collectibles. She’s a film buff and her favourite genre is horror,
she also dabbles in stand up comedy, and dancing to the ‘80s makes her feel very happy indeed!
To find out more about Helen, her book and general musings visit helenmorrish.co.uk
All photographs http://www.urszula-soltys.com

Rupert BT Poster