The Bobby Girls Secrets By Johanna Bell @JoBellAuthor @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity @TeamBookends #TheBobbyGirls #strictlysagagirls #WW1 #HistoricalFiction #bookreview #readingforpleasure #NewBook

I just thought I would write to let you know that The Bobby Girls Secrets by Johanna Bell, that I reviewed awhile ago now, is published today. If you haven’t already tried this wonderful series about the first volunteer police women during World War 1, then do take a look, you may be pleasantly surprised; even if this isn’t your usual genre. This is a sequel to The Bobby Girls. I have provided links to both books, which include my usual bit about the author, the blurb and my review.

Click Here for The Bobby Girls

Click Here for The Bobby Girls Secrets

 

 

Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber @OfficialALW #BenElton #LoveNeverDies #AndrewLLoydWebber #FrederickForsyth #GlennSlater #Theatre #Review #VirtualTheatre #Musicals #Books

Love Never Dies
By Andrew Lloyd Webber
Rated 5 stars *****

Love Never Dies

Today I present a review of the sensational follow up to Phantom of the Opera – Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This was a virtual event. Like most musicals, there was also a book produced too. This is however primarily a theatre review, but would give you an idea too as music, lyrics and the written words in a book collide for both art forms.

Composer – Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics – Glenn Slater

Book written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ben Elton and Frederick Forsyth.

Synopsis

The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak-shows of Coney Island. In this new electrically-charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar. All that is missing is his love – Christine Daaé.

Christine is struggling in an ailing marriage to Raoul. She accepts an invitation to travel to New York and perform at a renowned opera house. In a final bid to win back her love, the Phantom lures Christine, her husband, and their young son Gustave from Manhattan; to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island, not knowing what is in store for them…

Review

A couple of weeks ago I watched Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber on You Tube. It is the sequel of Phantom of the Opera and is every bit as stunning and attention grabbing as The Phantom of the Opera. It got some bad press, but certainly would not from me. It is set on Coney Island. For those who do not know – Coney Island is near New York and was a place that gained a reputation for fun fairs, circuses, and freak shows. Today, this doesn’t really exist quite in that form, but there does seem to be a fun fair and eateries.

The Phantom has moved from Paris to Coney Island and seems to be controlling it with all its glitz and mystique, but still has an obsession with Christine. The singing is beautiful, the music and lyrics works so well for the story that is being told. There are bits of music and song reminiscent of the times in the opera house in Paris in the first musical about the phantom, but there are plenty of terrific original songs to whet your appetite and really get into as well. The musical is full of life when showing the circus. The set is always sumptuous and at times has an element of fun to it, although always dark. The atmosphere that is created fits every mood and absolutely fits with the storytelling.

There’s shocks and surprises and some almost edge of your seat scenes. This is a musical that swept me away with it and grabbed me and took me into every dark corner, every bit of romance and every bit of emotion. If this is ever on stage, when things return to normal (which they will someday), it would be absolutely be quite the spectacle to see.

I was slow off the mark writing about this. Other life things took over, so it is not available on YouTube anymore, but there are previews and it is available on DVD. So, not all is lost. That is the positive, that you can indeed still watch this spectacular musical.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, every Friday for 48 hours has got creative and kind and is putting on You Tube many of his musicals and concerts under The Show Must Goes On. Pay or do not pay into the actors’ fund, that is up to you. It looks like Cats is the next musical to be streamed.

The Midas Cat – The Harrington Collection by Tommy Ellis – A Highly Entertaining Read #TheMidasCat #TommyEllis #bookreview #humour #fiction

The Midas Cat – The Harrington Collection
By Tommy Ellis
Rated: 5 stars *****

 

About the Author

Tommy is an author and saxophonist. He’s played alongside Chas and Dave, Mud, The Troggs and Earth Wind and Fire, to name a few. He’s played in a nudist camp where he felt a tad over dressed and had to run away from a gun-toting audience member. He’s also had terrorists threaten to blow up two of his gigs! He is the author of The Midas Cat books; a series of surreal dark humour featuring an Adam Ant loving, talking feline that’s being tracked down by an unscrupulous banker. Think The Pink Panther as if re-imagined by Tim Burton. Available now: The Midas Cat: The Harrington Collection. A 3000-word short read. E book only. The Midas Cat: The Devil Wears Tabby: A 30,000-word novella available as an e book and paperback. The survival of Ralph’s marriage is dependent upon him capturing a hundred million dollar talking cat. Standing in his way, however, is the cat itself, Lord Lucan, an imaginary game show host, and a voodoo death spirit. Follow Ralph into insanity as the cat tears his life apart piece by piece.

 

The Midas Cat The Harrington Collection pic

Blurb

Discover the insane world of the rarest and most valuable feline on earth: An auction, an Elvis automaton, a truck load of jewels and the midas cat!

Review

Having enjoyed The Cat Wears Prada, I had high hopes for the next book. I wasn’t disappointed. It meets up with Ralph again, in a very sorry state of affairs for himself, after that book. Again, it is a brilliant quick story, of only a few pages and two chapters in length. It is a perfect, speedy story for adults, if you’ve little time on your hands and yet need some time to escape from the world for a bit.

There is a certain balance of humour and the somewhat downtrodden Ralph who is someone who readers can feel sympathy for, even though life is like no other, that I know anyway. There is an absurdity about it and yet that is exactly what makes for an amusing read. It’s also what makes for a most unusual cat that is worth following.

The story takes place at an auction house, with some collections that wouldn’t look out of place in the tv series Flog It and then there is the even more random. There is however The Harrington Collection, which has a very expensive pink diamond in it. The Midas Cat, that caused so many issues in the previous book (The Midas Cat Wears Prada), and who is worth a whole lot of money, is discovered now lurking around the auction house.
With references to Elvis, Postman Pat, When Harry Meets Sally and Peaky Blinders, this is a highly entertaining read.
I highly recommend it for the sheer fun of it all.
This can be found in e-book form and I am informed by the author, that it also may become an audiobook. So it could be worth also keeping an eye out for that in the future.

#Review of Murder at the Music Factory by Lesley Kelly @lkauthor @sandstonepress #BookReview #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour

Murder at the Music Factory
By Lesley Kelly
Rated: 4 stars ****

Murder at the Music Factory is the latest Health of Strangers book by Lesley Kelly and I am just so pleased to have been asked to join the blog tour by Scottish publishers Sandstone Press, whom I also thank for sending my a physical print copy of the book to review. With its music, a gun man and all the intrigue, it makes for a great read. I can see why Ian Rankin rates Lesley Kelly.

About the Author

Lesley KellyLesley Kelly has worked in the public and voluntary sectors for the past 20 years, dabbling in poetry and stand-up comedy along the way. She has won several writing competitions, including the Scotsman’s Short Story Award in 2008. Her debut novel: A Fine House in Trinity, was long listed for the William McIlvanney award in 2016. She can be followed on Twitter @lkauthor where she tweets about writing, Edinburgh and whatever else takes her fancy.

Click for Social Media Link: 
Twitter Link

Blurb

The body of Paul Shore toppled onto him, a stream of blood pooling around them on the concrete. Bernard lay back and waited to see if he too was going to die.

An under cover agent gone rogue is threatening to shoot a civil servant a day. As panic reigns, the Health Enforcement Team race against time to track him down – before someone turns the gun on them.

Leley Kelly Murder at the music factory

Review

A pandemic, music and a gunman in Edinburgh, Scotland , well, this book certainly is a thriller to behold.

It’s quite something to read a book with a pandemic and live through one in real life and I am glad to say that there are bits of a normality to be found here and there and some wit in some of dialogue, that lifts it. Murder in the Music Factory is book 4 in The Health of Strangers series. It works as part of the series and as a standalone, so you can jump straight in.

The North Edinburgh Health Enforcement Team (HET) are back in this brand new book – Murder at the Music Factory, part of the Health of Strangers series, that once you’ve started, you see what a great series it is. It is worth joining a week in the life of this team (the book is split into days of the week).
The books were an alternative Edinburgh, where a virus is rampant, but now fiction and fact have somewhat collided (the books began way before this current virus pandemic). Foresight is perhaps a wonderful thing, or maybe it isn’t, who knows in this instance, but one thing I do know, is it is there and this is a very good book.
I know people are worried at this time, but this is still an excellent thriller of a book to read. It isn’t just about a virus. There’s a gunman at large who Mona and Bernard need to track down and a vulnerable witness needs to be protected.

More foresight, but perhaps not quite as it is in our new reality for this time. In the book, schools are closed, the NHS carries on, but electives are cancelled. A lot like now, except in the book it’s because of the gunman, all the same, it is in-escapable that this (minus the gunman thank goodness), has become a reality and thank goodness for the NHS.

There is some entertainment to be found in this book and I do like that Bernard has a need for chocolate. I’ve read that quite a bit around social media, that chocolate is a must for people right now too.

There’s a bit of familiar music mentioned within the book, that is carefully placed and works really well. This book, although was, at time of writing, like all of this series, set some time in the near future, and now sees a bit of fiction and realiy weaving together, actually has some lightness in parts of it. There’s life away from work, which gives the book a bit of humanity about it and a bit more insight into the characters.

To read a book about, not just a thriller, but one that has a global pandemic going through is surreal, no doubt about it and I’ve used a lot of my resilence to complete the book, so I could review for you. These are unusual and worrying times and I will say that I do hope that everyone is staying safe and are well. That being said, it is still a very well-written book and one that is still worth reading, whether it is your book of choice for now or later, because one day, whenever that may be, things will return to normal. Who knows if they will in this series of books or not, but they will in the real world.
Take care and keep safe and thank you in advance for reading my blog post on this blog tour.

Olympia’s Dream by Milton Johanides #MiltonJohanides #Cyprus #Greece #Fiction #HistoricalFiction #LiteraryFiction

Olympias Dream
by Milton Johanides
Rated: 3.5 stars 3.5 stars

I would like to thank both Milton Johanides and his wife for asking me to review this book. I first met them in the small community library I currently lead and happened to mention I had a blog. After a conversation with them both, I have happily agreed to write a review. Please note, my review is not biased. I always take books on their own merit, but whilst always remembering the authors, whether I’ve met them or not, are real people too. Opinions are always my own. Although I have rated this book 3 1/2 stars, it isn’t far away from being 4, in my opinion.

About the Author

Milton Johanides was born in the UK and now lives in Scotland. After earning a Classics degree at Bristol University he pursued a commercial career before settling down to become a full-time writer and artist in 2012.

The Cypriot’s Treasure Trilogy is based on his own experiences growing up in London and Cyprus. It is a pulsating tale of bigotry and betrayal set against the turbulent backdrop of Greek, Turkish and Cypriot history.

Links to social media and where to buy the book:
Author Website
Barnes & Noble 
Amazon      

Olympias Dream cover

Blurb

Artie’s beautiful daughter who one day meets the Hollywood star Claudette Taylor and is fired with dreams of fame. World War Two and Germany’s occupation of Greece intervenes and Olympia must adapt to the nightmare scenario which unfolds.

“My mother’s name was Olympia, named after the mountain on which the god’s reside. Her name alone is enough to summon images of immortality, and in her youth she certainly looks like a goddess, or so say those who knew her”

Review

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into this book in terms of quality, but I have to say that it was better than what I was expecting. This is a book of emotion that encompasses psychological states, relationships between characters and of Cyprus and the history it holds.

I was intrigued to know what people are saying about Olympia from the start. The book is set in Cyprus, which in itself, is an interesting island. People who have read Victoria Hislop’s books or visited the island will be very familiar with it.
Olympia’s Dream questions life and becomes rather thought-provoking quite early on. Readers get to see the inner soul and psychological thoughts, almost of the main character – Artie, who is pretty insecure with his wife – Efthimia. Milton Johanides is skillful in immediately letting readers know the mood and temperament of his characters.

Artie is a character, despite perhaps, many flaws is one that can still be empathised with. He shows life isn’t easy and there is heartache. He seems to drive the plot forward, which helps move the story onwards and to create a focus and is certainly, in my opinion one of the more interesting characters.  Where this book is at its strongest is in the emotions and the mental state of Artie. There is quite a bit of inner depth to the characters portrayed. This is perhaps where the strengths of the book really lies, is in the complexities of this character and when the attention turns to the ensuing war.

The book moves onto being a bit about war times and other historical times. Readers can get a glimpse into what Cyprus was like as there as Cyprus does indeed have a fascinating history. There is some interest to be had within those chapters. There’s clearly been a lot of research done to intertwine the factual with the plot lines.

The plot feels like it did lack a certain pace at times, although does pick up in a number of places, which was pleasing, to move the plot onwards and to keep interest going. This book is fairly good and is worth a read and will certainly be of interest to those who also enjoy Victoria Hislop’s books and it is always exciting to discover new authors who are beginning to come into the fore too. It is worth taking some time to read and to discover the characters and Cyprus itself.

 

The Stay at Home Festival – Running from now until 11th April #BookFestival #OnlineBookFestival #SocialDistancing #StayAtHomeFestival #Festivals

After seeing a call for bloggers from Janet Emson to be part of The Stay at Home Festival with From First Page to Last, I decided to join in. You can too as an audience member, right from the comfort of your own home. There are many author events between now and 11th April for you to enjoy of all different genres. It’s a bit like a library event in a way. If you’ve never heard or read anything from the author, then now is the opportunity to give someone new a chance as it is for free. If there’s an author you love, now is an opportunity to see them talk about their latest work and more… Why not sit back and relax and watch an event unfold that you weren’t expecting, whilst staying at home.

From First Page to Last

This is one of the bookish activities I am taking part in, along with my usual book reviews. Many authors have seen events and entire festivals cancelled, so they have gone online. This is for free and it would be really great if you can support them.  Any time I attend one either from here or elsewhere over the internet I will be blogging about it to support authors.

Find below the link that will take you to the relevant page, for a scheduling list and links to access each event. 

From First Page to Last