The Midas Cat 3 – A Midas Cat in New York by Tommy Ellis @TommyEllis14 #BookreviewbyLou #Fiction #CrimeFiction #Cats

The Midas Cat 3
A Midas Cat in New York
By Tommy Ellis
Rated: 4 stars ****

A Midas Cat in a very human world, snow and a touch of Christmas in New York is the treat in store, there is also some heavy crime with the mafia, which also awaits, through the dark with rays of brightness within it.

Thanks to Tommy Ellis for being in contact to review and for sending me over a PDF copy.

The Midas Cat In New York Cover

Blurb

It’s December, and Ralph Williams is in New York for some retail therapy having been deeclared both sane and innocent of murder. A case of mistaken identity, however soon ruins his festive mood and puts him on the mafia’s hit list… and the triads’. Just when he thought things were as bad as they could get. the midas cat shows up and messes not only with his sadity but organised crime… with unexpected results.

Review

Christmas in New York sounds wonderful and that’s where Ralph is spending it, whilst his cousin is locked away in a cell and his wife, Lauren is elsewhere. So, it’s The Big Apple all alone for Ralph, but he has won an amazing prize, but something unexpected, even for the U.S. happens.

Cat (The Midas Cat) is also in NYC and adores the city. The book continues from the previous books and still has that quality of creating a cat to be one of the main characters and almost human-like and still likes Adam Ant and still has a bit of a humanistic quality, which makes it quirky but fun. It is also fast paced and captures imagination well.

There is a mix of the brightness of Christmas cheer, (there could have been a bit more) and the darker culture that is within the U.S, but there are glimpses of some humour within it, which mostly comes from the cat and reactions towards it. The book, however, feels a bit darker than the books previous to this one, with a bit more of the Mafia and characters such as Don Vincenzo.

The book takes readers right up to and includes Christmas Eve with a surprising ending, that is worth waiting for.

The Unravelling of Maria @fjcurlew #blogtour #saga

The Unravelling of Maria
By
Rated: 4 Stars ****

About the Author

Fiona Author profile picFiona worked as an international school teacher for fifteen years, predominantly in Eastern Europe. Seven of those years were spent in Estonia – a little country she fell in love with. She now lives in East Lothian, Scotland, where her days are spent walking her dog, Brockie the Springer, and writing.

The Unravelling Of Maria is her fourth novel.

Created with GIMP

Blurb

Lovers separated by the Iron Curtain.

Two women whose paths should never have crossed.

A remarkable journey that changes all of their lives.

Maria’s history is a lie. Washed up on the shores of Sweden in 1944, with no memory, she was forced to create her own. Nearly half a century later she still has no idea of her true identity.

Jaak fights for Estonia’s independence, refusing to accept the death of his fiancée Maarja, whose ship was sunk as she fled across the Baltic Sea to escape the Soviet invasion.

Angie knows exactly who she is. A drug addict. A waste of space. Life is just about getting by.

A chance meeting in Edinburgh’s Cancer Centre is the catalyst for something very different.

Sometimes all you need is someone who listens.

Review

The Unravelling of Maria is like a love letter in some ways to Estonia, but is more complex than this. It is set over different time periods and with multiple perspectives, so some concentration is a must. In saying that, it is elegantly written and holds interest. It is immersive as she touches on conflict and also some of the more salubrious sides of Edinburgh, away from the glam of the city within this saga of almost epic proportions.

The book delves in to the history of Estonia, which is fascinating and makes this book feel rather original in many ways. It isn’t overly heavy as there are so many universal themes throughout as well of humanity and identiy. Maria, Angie and Jaak are terrific characters who show bravery and show that sometimes people just need to be given a chance in life. The tension throughout is however immense at times with a huge intensity, but in someways this keeps that feeling of it having a hold on you, going. The descriptions are quite panoramic in quality, which really suits this style of book.

There is a humanity that appears through the book and it feels like it has been researched well and a great deal of care over it has been taken to take people through quite a journey through time and countries in a way that isn’t sensationalised, in the way that some pretty hard times and challenges that have to be faced are revealed.

Social Media/Website Links

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#Bookreview by Lou of an enchanting #ChildrensBook – The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson @sophieinspace @Usborne

The Castle of Tangled Magic
by Sophie Anderson
Rated: 5 stars *****

Sophie Anderson, author of The Girl Who Speaks Bear, has another enchanting tale – The Castle of Tangled Magic. It enchants with its richly depicted castle and magical land that provides excellent escapism.

Thanks to Usborne and Sophie Anderson for allowing me to write a review and for providing an e-copy of the book.

Follow further down to the blurb, review and links.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Blurb

Magic awaits, all you have to do is believe…

When thirteen-year-old Olia, steps through a magical doorway, she discovers another land. A land tangled by magic, where hope is lost, and a scheming wizard holds all the power.

Soon Olia learns that she is destined to save this land, but with time running out and her new friends and family in danger, she must search for the magic within herself – to save everything and everyone she loves.

The Castle of Tangled Magic, the new fairy tale from Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Saara Söderlund.

An enchanting fairy-tale adventure about the power of love and courage, from the bestselling author of The House with Chicken Legs and The Girl who Speaks Bear.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Review

Castle Mila, built from wood around 500 years ago near the shore of a lake, sounds like so many children’s dream of a castle with it’s majestic stature and hidden passageways and secrets. The writing is amazingly imaginative, in the way Sophie Anderson has captured the castle and takes readers on a tour around it, up each of the stairs to the different rooms and domes, along with Olia. There is so much to feast the eyes upon and to delight and bring a touch of magic to children’s imaginations. It’s all rather splendid. She is also wanting to find some magic, so seeks out an older member of the family – Babusya, who informs about the mysterious Sun Dome that could have magic, but is locked. The mysteriousness that builds is fascinating and enchanting.

There’s great charm and excitement that captures the heart. The ideas of olde of leaving salt as offerings for spirits, such as domovoi (a spirit, in this case a fox who protects) and of the changes of the wind are explored through Babusya. As other family members appear, there is a lovely family cosyiness element, which is heartwarming, as is the talk of ancestry.

There’s a storm, which seems to make looking for a key even more pressing, a gripping, treacherous adventure ensues and there is a lot at stake – the family and the castle to protect from the ferociousness of the weather.

The story continues onwards with Feliks, the domovoi, into a mystical, rather surreal land – The Land of Forbidden Magic, where there the descriptions add to the surrealism as Koshka, a gorgeous cat, is met and a conversation ensues about the witch Nania and Chenomor’s magic. Another unexpected quest occurs as the land and spirits need to be saved. With lots of danger and many different encounters and riddles to solve, it pulls readers further in deeper as the quest becomes increasingly treacherous and on top of that Castle Mila itself needs saving.
Sophie Anderson creates so much for readers to grasp onto and root for in this pacy adventure, that also has an almighty twist.

Throughout, there are lovely illustrations, depicting the story well. At the end there is also “Olia’s Glossary”, which children will benefit well from, to enhance their understanding of the story as there are some words, that may be unfamiliar.

Links

Website: www.sophieandersonauthor.com

Twitter: @sophieinspace

Desert Island Crooks – Crime Authors Desert Island Books @BloodyScotland @cbrookmyre @lizzienugent @harriet_tyce @RuthWareWriter

Desert Island Crooks
Bloody Scotland Online

The chair of this panel, Jonathan Whitelaw has dumped fellow crime authors on a desert island and asked them which books they would take with them.

Chris Brookmyre was a journalist before becoming an author and has written many successful books, including Quite Ugly One Morning and his latest is Fallen Angel.

Liz Nugent worked in Irish TV and radio dramas and is now also a novelist of many books, including Our Little Cruelties.

Harriet Tyce was a Criminal Barrister before becoming a writer, with her debut being Blood Orange and her second is – The Lies You Told.

Ruth Ware published in 40 languages and has written many books recently had even more success with The Turn of the Key and  her latest is One By One

 

The 3 books they would each have with them if they were stranded on a desert island.

Chris Brookmyre

The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Reason unsual and absorbing – takes place in US and Laszlo is a pioneer of psychological pioneer. Has Theodore Roosevelt as the protaganist.
Sense of political events and corruption and is like reading history as it takes place.
Hugely atmospheric, rollicking Tale.

The Alienist: Book 1 (Laszlo Kreizler & John Schuyler Moore)

The Crow Road by Iain Banks,
Reason – He wants to relive it over and over. It’s quinessentially Scottish book. It takes place in Glasgow and there is a road there in that. It is in urban and rural Scotland. It’s about complex relationships and he told of a great opening line. There’s the rights of passage and the jealousy. There is crime within it as an uncle goes missing. He reckons they would be his surrogate family whilst he was on the desert island.

The Crow Road: 'One of the best opening lines of any novel' (Guardian)

 Holistic Detective Agency series by Douglas Adams
Reason there’s a fantasy/sci-fi/crime fiction book with Dirk Gently as the detective. It deals with time travel, but brings humour and you can read it a second time straight after to get something different out of it. It shows people can seem nicer than what’s really lying beneath. He says you can always find something new in it.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently Series Book 1)

Liz Nugent

The Collector

Reason: About a butterfly collector has decided to collect a woman instead. Average loner who suddenly wins the pools and he buys a house and has creates a basement where Miranda is kidnapped and wants to pin her to the wall with his butterfly collection
The story is told from both points of view.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper.
Reason Set in Australia, she was taken by the deadly landscapes and how stranded you can become in the harsh elements and poisonous snakes.
She talked of so many people having skin cancer too and it sounded so routine.
The lethal landscape attracted her. The story is of 3 brothers and one who is presumed to have committed suicide and another who is estranged. It’s about families and redemption, she says how it is a terrific read.

The Lost Man: the gripping, page-turning crime classic

The Book of Evidence By John Banville

Reason: Freddy Montgomery has come back from living in the med where he squandered his money and has decided he will steal a painting. He ends up murdering a maid by accident and is about the horror of knowing you’ve done something really bad and can’t escape from himself. It’s based on a harrowing true story.
She says it’s an outstanding read and there’s so much in it to unpick.

The Book of Evidence by John Banville (2010-03-05)

Harriet Tyce

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

ReasonPublished in 1938, who has a 17 year old psychopath is the protagonist, with Ida being the antagonist. It’s about good and evil and nicely forgives Greene for how he describes Ida.
She seems to like the atmosphere and the ending.

It was interesting that she started a small division about the view of Brighton.

A-Level Notes on Graham Greene's Brighton Rock

Endless Night for Agatha Christie.

Reason: She wants to unpick it for the ending. Michael has a dream of the perfect house and marries an heiress. There’s a curse and lots of bad things happen and it all builds up before the reveal at the end. You think it might be one thing, but a great twist at the end as it becomes another.

Endless Night

In A Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes

Reason: Written in 1948 – Set during war times and the protagonist strangles women and there is feminism and evil.

In a Lonely Place (Penguin Modern Classics)

Ruth Ware

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

Reason – It’s a psychological thriller, but not categorised as such. A poisoning takes place

Says it’s really well-plotted and the characterisation and it being told through Phillips eyes and swings that takes place. Du Maurier takes you into agreeing, but also mistrusting him.

It’s poisoning in its state, but also is Phillip actually poisoned for his thoughts of women.

My Cousin Rachel (Virago Modern Classics)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Reason: She suddenly realised that it is about a bunch of strangers killing each other. She thought, if things went bad, she would know what to look out for.

The Talented Mr Ripley and The Secret History by Donna Tartt were in a tie as they both have compelling characters, with her plumping for The Secret History for its faintly horrible characters and the settings.

The Secret History: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Goldfinch

 

 

#Bookreview by Lou of The Beast and The Bethany by Jack Meggitt Phillips @MeggittPhillips @IsabelleFollath @egmontbooksuk @The_WriteReads #ChildrensBooks #MiddleGrade #kidslit

The Beast And The Bethany
By Jack Meggitt Phillips
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
Rated: 5 stars *****

Fun and totally grossed out with this absolutely terrific children’s book that has heart and warmth!
It’s being made into a big budget Hollywood Movie with Warner Brothers already and I can see how it can lend itself terrifically well to the big screen.

I’ve been one of the lucky people to get my hands on a copy of the book to review and it gives me great pleasure to share with you.

The Beast And The Bethany is one of the biggest middle-grade children’s books to be published this year, with a film going to be made of it, this is the perfect chance to get your hands on the book first. Excited? It’s worth getting excited about. It was published 3rd September. Today is my blog tour slot for the tour and I have a review for this treat of a book thanks to Egmont Books, who sent me a proof physical copy out after the proof of the e-book. Thanks to the Write Reads for inviting me onto the blog tour.
Follow onwards to the Synopsis, Review, Buy Links and about the film and About the Author and Illustrator…. before the Beast captures you… Eek!!!

Synopsis

The most exciting new children’s book of 2020 and a modern classic in the making.The Beast and the Bethany has all the classic macabre humour of Roald Dahl with the warmth and charm ofDespicable Me, finished off with a gleeful bite of Little Shop of Horrors! This book should be on every little monster’s birthday and Christmas list.

Ebenezer Tweezer is a youthful 511-year-old. He keeps a beast in the attic of his mansion, who he feeds all manner of things (including performing monkeys, his pet cat and the occasional cactus) and in return the beast vomits out presents for Ebenezer, as well as potions which keep him young and beautiful. But the beast grows ever greedier, and soon only a nice, juicy child will do. So when Ebenezer encounters orphan Bethany, it seems like (everlasting) life will go on as normal. But Bethany is not your average orphan…

The Bethany and the Beast

Review

Ebenezer Tweezer is an age you can only ever imagine. He has 1 week to go until his 512th birthday. Has he the wrinkles of an old man? No, not him. He looks around 20 years old… I figure a lot of adults now reading this are wondering what his beauty secrets are and a lot of children having fun and in awe of his age. He lives in the most amazing house with a rare parrot. He then goes to an orphanage where he meets Bethany, who has some pretty gross habits. Children who like Roald Dahl, will really enjoy this book. Still, Ebenezer wants to adopt her from Miss Fizzlewick. She’s a handful and what she can’t do with superglue and chilli powder isn’t worth knowing!
I think many children will find some pretty grossed-out humour in this book. Bethany is pretty obnoxious. Then… There’s The Beast to contend with. Ebenezer has gone to great lengths to get the beast what it wants, including the Titanic. Now a child, who unfortunately may not be to its taste after-all and what can be done to remedy it. Readers will have to find out why not in the book…

Ultimately, Ebeneezer needs to change Bethany, so she becomes less of an obnoxious brat. The beast has also promised a very special potion to Ebenezer in return.

There are some parts that children may find thought-provoking and could be good for discussion, such as what it may feel like getting older and also transformation in behaviours, including that of the beast. The book has a heart and soul to it with a certain, unexpected warmth.

Ultimately this book will have children wrinkling their noses and perhaps being vocally disgusted at where things like the worms are, laughing so much at the humour and wanting to run from the beast. I reckon this is an absolutely terrific book for reading for pleasure at home and in the classroom. It’ll certainly be a book that lots of fun can be had from anyone who reads it.

Book to Film Link

Buy Link

About the Author and Illustrator

Jack Meggitt Phillips is an incredibly exciting new talent. He is an author, scriptwriter and playwright whose work has been performed at The Roundhouse and featured on Radio 4. He is scriptwriter and presenter of The History of Advertising podcast. In his mind, Jack is an enormously talented ballroom dancer, however his enthusiasm far surpasses his actual talent. Jack lives in north London where he spends most of his time drinking peculiar teas and reading PG Wodehouse novels.

Isabelle Follath is an illustrator who has worked in advertising, fashion magazines and book publishing, but her true passion lies in illustrating children’s books. She also loves drinking an alarming amount of coffee, learning new crafts and looking for the perfect greenish-gold colour. Isabellelives in Zurich, Switzerland.

#BookReview by Louise of Heckler by Jason Graff @JasonGraff1 #Fiction #LiteraryFiction

Heckler
By Jason Graff
Rated: 3 1/2 stars

Expect hotels and a world of music and large, deep themes which is more than the usual “coming of age” type of story that is within Heckler as you follow Bruno and the people he meets.
I thank Jason Graff for gifting me a copy to review.

Discover more about the author, the blurb and my review below.

About the Author

The author of numerous published short stories as well as the novella In the Service of the Boyar (Strange Fictions Press, 2016), Jason Graff loves both reading and producing writing that has a strong, clear voice and conveys a deep connection to the characters. In high school, his passion for the written word was well and truly ignited when he took a sucker punch for writing his crush a poem. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Bowling Green State University and later, his MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College. The intense nature of that program allowed him to be mentored by a diverse group of talented writers which included: Sarah Schulman, Richard Panek, Darcey Steinke, and Rachel Pollack. Jason currently lives in Richardson, Texas with his wife, son, and their cat. He is currently working on a science fiction novel about the beginning of the end of the universe and another about a romancing con-man.
You can follow him on Twitter at @JasonGraff1 , on Facebook at Author Jason Graff and/or visit his website: .www.jasongraff.wordpress.com

Synosis

Heckler“…you’ll learn as you get older that time goes by quickly, especially for adults,” Ray Davis writes in a letter to his son that he hopes will explain why he’s been away for so long. In the two years since he last saw his father, Bruno, who once yearned to be entrusted with manning the desk of the family hotel on his own, has grown to resent every moment he’s forced oversee its empty lobby. His mother dreams that he’ll take over the business one day but Bruno has more immediate concerns. Adjusting to the changes his teenage body is going through is complicated by the attraction he feels to both sexes. His only escape is to the movie theater across the street, where he loses himself in the black and white world of Hollywood’s Golden Age. After being turned away from a showing of Psycho, he runs into his former tutor, Rick French. While the academic substance of those sessions largely has faded, Bruno never forgot how Rick had first awakened feelings that he’d been too young to understand. As they renew their relationship, Bruno begins to glimpse the man he can become. Though he’d like to act on his desires, he cannot help but still feel like a callow pupil in Rick’s presence. Stuck somewhere between maturity and childhood, Bruno strives to avoid the lonely future of a hotelier.

Heckler

Review

Hotels conjure up the image of luxury or shabby-chic or relaxed. The Shelby Hotel seems as far removed from luxury as Angus Sperint can get as he is greeted by Bruno, the receptionist/checking in person at the desk. It isn’t a normal check-in. Angus wants to stay for at least 8 weeks.

The story takes readers into an interesting insight of the hotel and its guests, including Buddy – a muscian, who plays Polka, so gives a little insight into his music world.
There are also insights into living in a hotel and being educated there.

It’s a book of a certain era, with its Jazz and Polka music and films, including Psycho, Strangers on a Train and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, showing at the cinema. Without totally pointing out the year all the time within the body of the book, Jason Graff has it all well depicted.

Growing up can be tough, as Bruno finds out too as he grapples with his teenage body and hormones and tries to work out who he is and wants to be. The relationships between different characters, as well as the hotel guests are interesting as they weave in and out of the hotel and surrounding places.

This however, seems a bit more grown-up than most “coming of age” stories and has some darker themes such as alcoholism too as there are characters trying to overcome it, There are also other quite deep themes and also in some ways a look at forgiveness within the book, in what is very much a literary fictional book adults can enjoy.
The book perhaps doesn’t delve quite deep enough into each theme in some ways for a novel, but they are there, within the characters lives and readers can still get to know them. It may take a little while to get into, but it is worth giving a chance because it is still a decent read and once you’re into the flow of it, then it’s okay for something just a little bit different, that may also grow on you as well, as it did me.