A Christmas Carol – By Charles Dickens Adapted By Dave McCluskey, Narrated By Liam Scott- @demccluskey1 #Audible Version #Christmas #AChristmasCarol #ChristmasReads #Classics #ChristmasClassics

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted By Dave McCluskey
Narrated By Liam Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I have a review of the audio version (available on Audible) of a re-telling of A Christmas Carol. Thanks to Dave McCluskey for gifting me a free code to access this for honest review purposes. To listen to this for yourselves, I have a link after the review…

a Christmas Carol By Dave McCluskey pic

Blurb

A classic Christmas tale, lovingly recreated in this beautiful audio book.

The reviled Scrooge is visited by three spirits who teach him the real meaning of life. 

The tale has been turned into rhyme, making this a delightful new twist to the story you know so well. Could it be a new addition to your Christmas traditions? 

Review

There are many re-tellings of A Christmas Carol and I am sure you know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the 3 spirits visiting him, but this has been done differently. It is in rhyme.
Each time a new version is produced, I admit, I have reservations, but listen, even though with an air of trepidation and hope that whatever is produced is done well and does the original text by Charles Dickens justice. This one is surprisingly done well. At just over an hour long (bearing in mind the book itself is actually surprisingly short), this is easy to fit into anyone’s day for some family entertainment for Christmas.

The piano music in the beginning sets the atmosphere and is pitch perfect. It has been adapted well by Dave McCluskey, who has clearly paid attention well to the original as it is all very recognisable. This is re-written in quite a bit of rhyme to it and is easy to listen to and makes this accessible to many ages, which brings me onto the narrator. Liam Scott narrates all the parts well, bringing atmosphere and all the characters to life with some good voice acting. From his opening lines and then throughout, he has a good, strong rhythm, heard with all the pronouncing of the words, sometimes emphasising certain words. The rhythm that is set brings good pace and interestingly sounds between being Shakespearean in some places and Pantomime in others places.
Throughout the story, Liam Scott reads this iconic Christmas tale with conviction. Each character is brought to life by Liam Scott by the different voices he does, Ebenezer Scrooge sounds his age and the ghosts sound haunting enough. There is also some humour in this tale of ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Still to Come.

This is overall a pretty good adaptation and may become part of people’s ways of listening to this well-known story and for those who have not yet read or listened to the original text, then this may encourage people to do that too.

To listen click on the link that will take you to Audible – Amazon – A Christmas Carol

#BookReview By Lou – Every Day In December By Kitty Wilson @KittyWilson23 @0neMoreChapter_ #ChristmasRead #Christmas #December #EveryDayInDecember #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #RomanceFiction

Every Day In December
By Kitty Wilson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Follow two lives, each with their ups and downs within them each day in December. A poignant romance for Christmas. Check out the blurb and the rest of my review below.

Every Day In December

Blurb

Every Day In DecemberTwo people. One month to fall in love.

Belle Wilde loves December. Yes, she’s just lost her job and Christmas is not a good time to find yourself ‘financially challenged’. And yes, her parents are still going on about the fact that she really should have it all together by now. But Belle believes that in December, magic can happen.

Rory Walters hates December. Whilst it looks like his life is together, he’s still reeling from a winter’s night five years ago when his life changed forever. Now back at home, he’s certain that this will be yet another Christmas to endure rather than enjoy.

But as midnight on December 31st draws closer, Belle and Rory’s time together is coming to an end. With a little help from a Christmas miracle could Belle find the one thing she really wants underneath the mistletoe?

Review

Each chapter leads readers into each day in December and into the main characters – Belle and Rory’s lives. Belle has fallen on hard times, which leads her into a different path in life. This is only the surface of her life. Going deeper in, she has had rough upbringing. She has far, far got her life sorted.
Rory’s life is also not going so well either and he has a lot going on, yet he seems destined to be with Belle, even if it is a slow-burner of a romance.

Belle shows that she has a passion for Shakespeare in inspires others as she talks about him to students and shows just how very relevant he still is, through the themes that he wrote about, which are still universal today.

There is also the equation of Belle’s God-daughter whom she has a close relationship with  and this brings a lighter dynamic to the story.

The book is also poignant about December and how the closer you get to Christmas holidays, the harder it can feel in if something bad has happened in your life. There are ups and downs that the main characters have to overcome.

There is some Christmas cheer to be found amongst the poignancy of Every Day in December.

#Review By Lou – Silenced By Jennie Ensor @Jennie_Ensor @HobeckBooks #Thriller #CrimeFiction

Silenced
By Jennie Ensor

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour, thanks to Hobeck Books who invited me, with my review of the powerful thriller – Silenced by Jennie Ensor. Take a look at the synopsis and my review below, as well as the stunningly creepy, dark, yet atmospheric cover. Find out after all that, a little about the author too.

Silenced cover

Synopsis

gang culture, gang culture fiction, urban fiction, crime fiction, urban crime

gang culture, gang culture fiction, urban fiction, crime fiction, urban crime

gang culture, gang culture fiction, urban fiction, crime fiction, urban crime

DI Callum Waverley of the Met’s Major Investigation Team 55 is put in charge of his first murder investigation after a 15-year-old girl is stabbed outside a council estate controlled by the Skull Boys gang. Callum believes that the gang leader, V, ordered the murder. Witnesses are scared to come forward and he struggles to make headway.  Luke, who lives in the estate’s shadow, is drawn into the Skull Boys. Excluded from school, he befriends Jez, a troubled girl being exploited by the gang’s hitman, Zom. Callum becomes the target of escalating intimidation, seemingly from the Skull Boys. He suspects someone in his team may also be involved. Silenced is a gritty crime novel set in north London which delves into the heart of gang culture in 21st-century Britain.

Review

A teenage girl is brutally and shockingly murdered, shaking up the North London community to the core and becomes DI Callum Waverley’s first case. All the teenager was trying to do was try to get home. This a book with pace and so many layers. On the face of it, it’s a standard police procedural, but when you really get into it, there’s much, much more. This is about a community that feels silenced from talking to the police, not even the victim’s own mother wants to. They are all perpetually scared of the Skull Crew and what they might do to silence them. It takes a lot of work for the new DI to penetrate through the wall of silence and unravel the clues as to what happened. DI Callum Waverely also has his own demons to battle and has to push through them to solve the case.

There are themes of exploitation too and as well as exploring this, it also explores people within families who just don’t seem to care enough that their kids are being taken in by gangs when they are at their most vulnerable or acting out or thinking this would be a better way of life etc. This really goes deep into the depths of society, not just with this aspect, but also just how easy it can be for some to fall into being used by gangs and how hard it is to change your life around and escape, once so deep into them. There’s so much depth into the behaviours, morals and injustices that are created by society and are still in existence in Britain in 2021.

There are also themes of love, family, betrayal, violence, alcoholism, loss. The writing is dark, yet has an air of sophistication in all that it deals with, including the impact of crime, not just on the victims and witnesses, but also on those working in the police force, especially those investigating it, which brings a different angle to a police procedural. 

This is one powerful and intensely gripping and gritty book!

#BookReview By Lou – The Arctic Curry Club By Dani Redd @dani_redd @AvonBooksUK #TheArcticCurryClub #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #Food #Community #UpliftingFiction

The Arctic Curry Club
By Dani Redd

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Arctic Curry Club, Dani Redd, Heartwarming, Xmas Romance, Love, Contemporary Romance

One of the recent books that was gifted in in a lovely care type package with flavoured coffee that has long since gone, although a bit strong for me but loved this touch and drank it all the same, was The Arctic Curry Club. It’s different and yet uplifting and good for foodies and people exploring different settings for that Christmas, wintry feel. Find out what it’s about in the blurb and then my honest review… Please note, the opinions are my own and not influenced by anything I was gifted.

The Arctic Curry Club

‘For my whole life I had been looking for home. But why would that be in a place that I’d left? Perhaps I had to keep moving forward in order to find it…’

Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.

In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.

But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it…

A tender and uplifting story about family, community, and finding where you truly belong – guaranteed to warm your heart despite the icy setting!

The Arctic Curry Club 2

Review

The Arctic Curry Club is mosty about trying to discover your roots and where you feel like you actually belong. Maya is part English and part Indian. She has a boyfriend who is the opposite to her. He is fit and sporty, she is plump, small and also full of anxiety about so much. 

The book is set between England, India and the Arctic. Her boyfriend leads her to the Arctic where he really feels he belongs with the husky dogs and sleds etc. She is more unsure and her anxieties rise as she becomes increasingly scared of getting lost. Later they come across someone running a tour guide business, which she becomes involved in, or at least coaxed to, to cook Indian food. One issue is she doesn’t really know how to, which sends her in a different direction, to find out more about her Indian roots, which she can’t recall too much of, not since a family tragedy.

Later, she opens up her mother’s cookbook and starts to make a go of things, trying to fit in and become part of the community, who start to rally around and friendships are soon forged and her confidence grows with this and her new job as a chef. It is fun reading about how she adapts some recipes, depending on what ingredients she can get, especially from Norway, shows an element of fearlessness in the kitchen to experiment, even if it doesn’t always work out as planned first time. This is where the uplifting side of Maya’s life comes into the story, along with that friendly community feel.

At the back of the book, there is an interesting note from the author about how she spent time in both India and the Arctic Circle. The story itself shows how she became inspired by these places to write a fictional uplifting story. The settings, especially the Arctic make this book quite different for the universal themes to occur in.

#BookReview By Lou – Questions For Rebel Girls #RebelGirls #QuestionsForRebelGirls #ChildrensNonFiction #ChildrensQuiz

Questions For Rebel Girls is a different sort of installment to this series of books that seem to be produced in top speed. Check out the review and then blurb below. Thanks to the producers of this series for gifting this book.

Questions for Rebel Girls sparks lively discussions with more than 500 kid-friendly questions inspired by real rebel women from the best-selling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series. Discover my review and then the blurb below…

Questions for Rebel Girls

Review

This book is quite different from the others, which is refreshing. It’s a bit question/self-quiz magazine type in form, but will get kids thinking about themselves in sometimes a serious and sometimes a fun way. The illustrations are big and bold and sometimes brash, but will grab anyone’s attention. This is perhaps more practical than the other books and could be useful as children explore themselves at different ages and think about who they are and how they want to be, as well as just having a giggle too. It puts the onus and reflection back onto themselves, although hoping here that it doesn’t bring out an egocentric demeanour, but looks like that is not its general purpose, more just to entertain and also get kids thinking and discussing. Some of the questions are ones that adults will ask friends just for fun and lots of those well-known kid like questions they ask their friends for fun too.

Blurb

Questions for Rebel Girls sparks lively discussions with more than 500 kid-friendly questions inspired by real rebel women from the best-selling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

Jane Goodall devoted her life to studying chimpanzees. If you dedicated your life to one type of animal, what would it be?

When cyclist Alfonsina Strada began racing, she was so unstoppable that newspapers nicknamed her “the devil in a dress.” What would your cycling nickname be?

Celia Cruz is the Queen of Salsa music. Beyoncé is a pop superstar. Roxanne Shante is an amazing rapper. And Joan Jett is all about rock and roll. If you could be a singing sensation, what type of music would you sing? If you could perform a duet with anyone in the world, who would you pick?

If you could meet any woman from any country and any time in history, who would it be? What would you ask her?

Would you rather ask questions or answer them? Luckily, with Questions for Rebel Girls, you can do both!

Girls love to explore their feelings, uncover their personality, and decode the world around them. One way to do that is to explore their answers to provocative questions about anything and everything. Questions for Rebel Girls introduces readers to extraordinary women throughout history and asks them to imagine themselves in similar scenarios. Designed to ignite exciting discussions between little rebels and their siblings, friends, and grown-ups, Questions for Rebel Girls is packed with more than 500 entertaining and thought-provoking questions—including some questions submitted by young fans of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

#BookReview By Lou – The Collector’s Daughter By Gill Paul @GillPaulAUTHOR @AvonBooks #HistoricalFiction #Egyptologists #Tutankhamun #5thEarlOfCanarvon #Fiction

The Collector’s Daughter
By Gill Paul

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Collector’s Daughter has a lot I didn’t expect and was better for it and oh so interesting as well as being a book I sailed through. I am absolutely delighted to finally have time from a busy period of time, to show you my review… Thanks to Avon Books for gifting this lovely book. Find more in the blurb and my review…

The Collector's Daughter

Blurb

From the internationally bestselling author comes a tale of long-buried secrets and a discovery that will change everything, perfect for fans of Dinah Jefferies and Lucinda Riley.

The Collector’s Daughter: A gripping and sweeping tale of unforgettable discoveries and unforgiveable secrets for 2021An unforgettable discovery
In 1922, Lady Evelyn Herbert’s dreams are realised when she is the first to set foot inside the lost tomb of Tutankhamun for over 3,000 years.
A cursed life
But the months after the discovery are marred by tragedy, when Eve’s father dies suddenly and her family is torn in two. Desperate to put the past behind her, Eve retreats into a private life with her new husband.
A deadly choice
But she is harbouring a dark secret about what really happened in Egypt. And when a young woman comes asking questions years later, the happiness Eve has finally found is threatened once more…

Review

The Collector’s Daughter takes readers to Egypt to follow in the footsteps of Lady Evelyn Herbert, as she takes the first steps into the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. It is absolutely fascinating to read about Eve and her discoveries and when she is older and how Dr. Ana Mansor takes up the mantle and how their path’s cross.

Luxor, 1919. Eve comes from a privileged family at Highclere. She is a daughter of Lord Carnarvon (George Herbert – 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who becomes an Egyptologist and funds the exploration of Tutankhamun’s tomb. 

Her mother has other plans. She wants Eve to get married and has to be a man of similar social standing. This isn’t Eve’s idea. For Eve there has to be more than this. She desires a man who will share a passion for travel and who will approve of her being an archeologist. It has been a passion of hers, after being inspired by her father, who encouraged her, to be part of digs. At 18 she arrives in Luxor, Valley of the Kings. There are some strange events as Tutenkhamun’s Tomb is discovered. 

London, 1972. Eve is in her early seventies and has had yet another stroke and is trying to regain her speech at a rehabilitation centre. The story of Egypt doesn’t stop here though. Dr. Ana Mansor is working on a research project and finding something odd about the archives with information about Tutankhamun’s tomb. Dr. Ana Mansor decides to visit Eve. It piques curiosity as to what this may be. It also gives a new energy and determination to Eve to improve her speech, but something feels odd. She has a secret that she is reluctant to reveal… It is so dark about what happened in Egypt…

This has depth and some of the characters are real, but are fictionalised. The book however piques interest to find out more about the exhibitions of Lord Canarvon. There’s a great plot, history, dark secrets to uncover; it’s an enthralling read. The research done with imagination is great and makes this better than I ever expected!