#Review of the poignant – With or Without You by Drew Davies @bookouture @Drew_Davies #Fiction #NewBook #SummerReading #BookReview

With or Without You
By Drew Davies
Rated: 4 stars ****

From the author of The Shape of Us and Dear Lily; Drew Davies brings you his latest book –With Or Without You. It is full of poignancy about life sometimes it can be taken for granted. It’s a great book to read as you follow the life of Mr and Mrs Dixit in this profound and uplifting and yet heartbreaking story.
I thank Bookouture for accepting my request to review this book by Drew Davies
Discover the blurb and full review below.

Blurb

With or Without You Cover.png‘How long does a coma last?’ I ask.

‘Days, weeks, months?’ the nurse replies with a shrug, although her eyes are very kind.

‘But on average?’

She just smiles, unable to give me an answer.

Wendy’s life can be neatly divided into two: before and after.

Before her husband’s car accident, it was just the two of them. They never took the train at rush hour, and they avoided their noisy neighbour upstairs. Naveem devoted his spare time to vintage train models, and Wendy to re-reading the well-thumbed pages of her favourite books. It didn’t matter what others thought about their small, quiet life together – they were happy.

After the coma, Wendy barely recognises herself. When she’s not holding the love of her life’s hand, accompanied by the beep of the life-support machine, who is she? The nurse tells her to talk to Naveem – that he can still hear her – but she doesn’t have a single thing to say.

Suddenly Wendy can’t bear the silence. She needs something, anything, to talk to Naveem about. Suddenly she’s losing herself at fairgrounds packed with crowds and candyfloss, she’s at the airport, waiting for the whoosh of the planes as they take off, making friends with the neighbour she has spent over a decade avoiding.

Knowing that every breath her husband takes might be his last, Wendy has no choice but to try to carry on without him. Should she feel guilty about living while his life is on pause? And when – if – he wakes up, will he still love the woman she has become?

This poignant, moving and uplifting tale is for anyone who has taken life for granted, neglected to say ‘I love you’ to their loved ones, or forgotten to find happiness in the little things. Perfect for fans of Josie Silver, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Jojo Moyes.

With or Without You Cover

Review

There’s quite lot of drama that unfolds. It’s poignant and thought-provoking about how life and loved ones etc can be taken for granted. It also shows very well how things can unexpectedly change in an instant.
The emotions that entail are powerful and realistically written. The book also at times can be sweet and uplifting. It’s a very good book to look out for this summer.

Mrs and Mr Naveem Dixit, from Chomley, are perhaps quite a typical couple from the rigmarole of hanging up a picture to the appliance shopping to the almost having to justify themselves about their childlessness status in a half-jokey kind of way. They are like many other couples, just getting on with what they have to do and the chores of life. Then everything changes… Mr Dixit is in an accident and is in a critical state.

Mrs Rampersad, their neighbour who is pretty brazen in attitude, is clearly trying to help by her immediate questions in her “urgent” manner, before Mrs Dixit has proper chance to gather thoughts and get her head around what has actually happened to her husband. She’s quite a contrast from Mrs Dixit. Her comments keep pricking throughout, with more intensity as the story between these 2 women unfolds. Somehow though, they become a little closer as Mrs Dixit starts to live life as her husband lies in hospital.
The way the story and characters are all knitted together creates moments that are heartbreaking and yet with moments that are uplifting and heartwarming.

Drew Davies takes readers through each emotional day that Mrs Dixit endures and means you are with her every step of the way as time unfolds. I liked this style. It fits this particular story very well and makes it feel realistic and will keep readers turning the pages to see how life progresses for each of the characters.

The subjects covered within this book makes this an important fictional work, because people seem to talk a quite a bit, taking things and people for granted. It’s also just a good story to sit down to with a cup of tea or a beverage of your choosing and enjoy.

#BookReview of the mesmerising – Tell Me How It Ends @IsabelleGrey @ellapatel__ @QuercusBooks #Thriller

Tell Me How It Ends
By V.B.Grey
Rated: 5 stars *****

Tell Me How It Ends – Cleverly written as a song title and as a title that is so fitting for the mesmerising plot of this glamorous world, where all is not what it seems and us shrouded in mystery, lies and secrets that need uncovering. in this elegant tale of complex, changing times, that has some unexpected twists. It’s a book that I really did wonder how it would all end. It is definitely a book to pick up. Even the cover is evocative, mysterious and powerful.

Thank you very much Ella Patel at Quercus and V.B. Grey for sending me a physical copy of the book, upon enquiry. That was definitely some exciting book post to receive and I have enjoyed the book very much.

Below, discover a bit about the author, the blurb and my review.

About the Author

V.B. Grey is a pseudonym for Isabelle Grey, a novelist a television screenwriter whose credits include Jimmy McGovern’s BAFTA award-winning series – Accused: Tina’s Story as weall as over thirty-five episodes of Midsomer Murders, Casualty, The Bill, Rosemary & Thyme and Wycliffe. She is the  author of two novels of psychological suspense and four books of a contemporary crime series under her own name.  Her psuedonym marks a change in creative direction.  Isabelle grew up in Manchester and now lives in north London.

Blurb

Delia Maxwell is an international singing sensation, an icon of Fifties glamour who is riding high on the new Sixties scene.
Adored by millions, all men want to be with her, all women want to be her. But one woman wants it a little too much…

Lily Brooks has watched Delia all her life, studying her music and her on-stage mannerisms. Now she has a dream job as Delia’s assistant – but is there more to her attachment than the admiration of a fan?
Private investigator, Frank, is beginning to wonder.

As Lily steps into Delia’s spotlight, and Delia encourages her ambitious protegee, Frank’s suspicions of Lily’s ulterior motives increase. But are his own feelings for Delia clouding his judgement?

The truth is something far darker: the shocking result of years of pain and rage, rooted in Europe’s darkest hour. If Delia thought she had put the past behind her, she had better start watching her back.

Tell Me How It Ends cover

Review

From the first few pages, I am somehow hooked and mesmerised and I have a need to know more about the shrouded mystery that surrounds Delia Maxwell.
Right away the intrigue is set-up in this immersive story, told by Frank, Lily and Delia.

Delia Maxwell appears to have vanished off the face of the earth! Just disappeared, right when her career was going places. She had a big Hollywood contract to sign and had plans to move to Florida. Her future was all mapped out and it was all going looking exciting. For all the glamour and the people she entertained, she seems like there’s something down-to-earth. You’d expect something swanky, but no, she was renowned for making omlettes for her guests.
There were strange events from over-zealous fans at the BBC concert hall at BBC Broadcasting House. One of them being Lily Brooks. The fan who crossed the line and became unhealthily fixated. She had studied the singing sensation – Delia Maxwell all her life and became her assistant. Intriguingly, she gets some of the limelight and sings her song “Tell Me How It Ends”. It already has a slight uneasiness about it and then there’s a shock revelation…

There’s more to this story in subplots too, like what is happening in world affairs at this time. It gives it all a sense of time and place. It rather adds to the complexities of the characters and the strange disappearance of Delia, as more mysterious connections emerge as more connections to her life and secrets are unveiled.

The book has an astonishing unsettling quality to it, no more so than when it comes to Lily. No matter how atmospheric it becomes, the more that just needs to be read. It’s such an elegantly written book.

In amongst the secrets, there are themes of identity, rivalries and the marks left by war times, especially on Jews. There are also secrets surrounding Anna Kormocksy as her life unfolds and tells of what she had endured during war times. It’s fascinatingly interwoven and shows some of the human story as well as her link to Delia.

This is such a book of secrets and lies and unexpected twists and turns. In someways there are parts I wasn’t expecting at all, which makes this book quite unique. All just isn’t quite as it first appears in this well-plotted book that captures atmosphere and glamour so well, which is testament to V.B. Grey’s love of the 1940’s and 1950’s periods of time and  noir thrillers and ‘women’s pictures’ coming through in abundance, which shows the complexities of the world and the changing times in a compelling way.

Elly Girffiths describes it as “Mesmerising and powerful”
Louise Candlish describes it as “A spellbinding read”

I must say that they aren’t wrong and it is absolutely one to read with the uniqueness it encompasses.

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.