#BookReview by Lou – What Planet Can I Blame This On by Ellie Pilcher @ElliePilcher95 @Hodder_Studio

What Planet Can I Blame This On
by Ellie Pilcher

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Laugh out loud funny, this book is one comedy of life that is great to relax into and tickle those funny bones.
Thank you to Ellie Pilcher and Hodder Studio for the invite to review and for gifting me a book.

What Planet Can I Blame This On

Blurb

The stars are not in position  and Krystal Baker is determined to make them fall in line.

It’s Krystal’s 29th birthday. This year:

· Her boyfriend finally proposed after six years of dating (only for her to find out he cheated on her for five and a half of them)

· She landed her dream job as a writer at Craze magazine (which swiftly fell into administration)

· She moved into her dream flat overlooking the city (just for the pipes to explode making the place unliveable)

As she mourns everything wrong in her life, her best friend mutters the dreaded words: Saturn Return. The time in a woman’s life where Saturn returns to the position it was in on the day of their birth, 29.5 years ago, and, according to legend, everything falls apart. Krystal has never bought into astrology but maybe it’s time to re-evaluate – because if the stars got her into this mess, they can get her out of it. And she only has six months to make things right.

Loaded with crystals, horoscopes, tarot cards and a carefully aligned chakra or two, Krystal’s determined to have her life back on track by the time Saturn returns. No longer shall she brand herself a ‘human disaster’ because this time it’s not her fault, it’s written in the treacherous stars.

It’s Krystal versus the universe in a fight for her future that she’s determined to win.

Review

This is surprisingly very funny. It starts with Krystal’s birthday and her bemoaning her playlist, of which I may have furrowed my brow at Stay Shakespear’s Sister, but each taste is different. Moving on… It’s her birthday and her playlist dislike is the absolute least of her worries. Her boyfriend and his behaviour is her biggest problem. Luckily she has friends, Tina and Paige to turn to. The conversation that ensues is seriously funny and the humour in the descriptions and dialogue continue throughout as they decide what they want to do with the bad boyfriend. There’s also a funny description and reference to Villanelle in Killing Eve and Harry Potter and other references to things such as pop culture and more, carefully placed, and in a witty way
Life just tumbles for her as she then loses her job and finds herself which planet or star she can blame it all on. It’s a book that lives and breaths in grown-up millienials in some ways and in another, in the most funniest ways, that the planets and stars have a lot to play in her life. As much as throughout, it is fun to laugh with Krystal and her friends and at her, it is easy to cheer her on and hope that things pick up in her life again, from all the freefalling catastrophes that life can throw at people. She then relies on horoscopes and planet alignments to help her re-evaluate her life and to try to change it and her friends are there too, full of kindness.
Whatever stage you are in life, there will be something relatable and it is ultimately a laugh-out-loud book, that’s as good as some sitcoms in some of the humour.

The humour makes this a wonderful book to sit with a glass of wine or something, out in the sun.

 

#BookReview by Lou – Love and Miss Harris by Peter Maughan @PeterMaughan5 @farragobooks @RandomTTours #ContemporaryFiction #Theatre #HistoricalFiction #Humour

Love And Miss Harris
By Peter Maughan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Love and Miss Harris is perfect for theatre-goers and everyone working in theatre productions. It is also perfect for people who enjoy Ealing Comedies and authors such as P.G. Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome and people who enjoy a good bit of capers and humour as the book captures a certain era so divinely. It’s a lot of theatrical fun! This is book 1 of what is becoming a series and I am looking forward to the second already. It’s a feel-good funny book.

Find out more in the blurb and review below. Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review and for Farrago Books for gifting me a copy of the book.

About the Author

Love And Miss Harris Peter Maughan Author picPeter Maughan’s early career covered many trades, working on building sites, in wholesale markets, on fairground rides and in a circus. He studied at the Actor’s Workshop in London, and worked as an actor in the UK and Ireland, subsequently founding a fringe theatre in Barnes, London.
He is married and lives currently in Wales.

 

Love and Miss Harris Cover

Blurb

Titus Llewellyn-Gwlynne, actor/manager of the Red Lion Theatre, has lost a backer who was going to fund a theatrical tour – when unexpected salvation appears.
Their home theatre in the East End of London having been bombed during the war, The Red Lion Touring Company embarks on a tour of Britain to take a play written by their new benefactress into the provinces.

This charming series transports the reader to a lost post-war world of touring rep theatre and once-grand people who have fallen on harder times, smoggy streets, and shared bonhomie over a steaming kettle.
The mood is whimsical, wistful, nostalgic, yet with danger and farce along the way.

Review

I love theatre and everything about it, ever since my mum introduced me to the theatre when I was a teenager, I’ve had a passion for them, so much so, that I even volunteered for just over a decade for a local theatre company, mostly doing front of house duties and occasionally backstage. So, when I was invited to review this book, I jumped at the chance and I think the timing is most apt as theatres and everyone has struggled to get by at this time and now they are starting, slowly but surely, and safely to re-open. This book instantly brings back the joy of theatre and also comedy. The fact it is The Company of Fools series, is in itself theatrical and Shakespearean in that subtitle, although the book itself is not Shakespearean, it’s thoughtful and adds fun and history right there and also cleverly alludes to the fun readers will have, as does that cover. This is worthwhile hopping onto that bus on the cover and enjoying the ride the book takes you on…

Titus, Reuben, Dolly, Jack are prominant characters within this theatrical cast, that instantly transports readers to rep theatre and with wonderful characterisation and observations are divine and everything comes to life. It is also nice that The Windmill Theatre gets a mention as it is pretty famous for rep theatre at this time. 

The title of the book is more clever than you’d think. Love and Miss Harris is the title of a play that Lady Devonaire has written, or rather George, with this as his pseudonymn. The style of writing is quite theatrical in places, which is wonderful and it has a lot of charm. It’s easy to depict in your minds eye – The Red Lion Touring Company losing their theatre due to it being bombed and how they overcome it by jumping on a tour bus and travelling. It shows a certain ingenuity and resillience and admiration how theatre has had to overcome hard times to survive, a bit like today in a way…. So hop on the bus with them and enjoy the ride that is full of humour and get to know a little about the places they go to. That isn’t to say that things are all plain sailing, the company are suspicious of Jack and there’s financial issues to try to overcome. There are also interesting bits about war times too, in memories, that isn’t to say this is a book that jumps from one time frame to another, it isn’t as that wouldn’t have enhanced what is a perfectly good read as it is.

All in all, it is a thoroughly enjoyable book.

I have read the preview for the second in the series and I must say, it is sounding good. 

Love and Miss Harris bt Poster

 

#Review by Lou of Love In The Wood – 5 stars for the entertaining play (still available) by William Wycherley, Directed by Hermione Guiliford @hermy1G @JSTheatre #theatre #TheShowMustGoOn #YouTube

  Love In A Wood
By William Wycherley
Rated: 5 stars *****

Love In A Wood is a great night in! There is humour, intrigue, romance and jealousy in this entertaining play with a terrific cast from stage and TV. It premiered on Sunday 31st January and is available for a week. Find out more below in the plot and then my review. Throughout, you can also find the link.

Love In The Wood is a  free online reading of a 1671 comedy by William Wycherley (The Country Wife), conceived and directed by Hermione Gulliford, is performed in aid of Equity Charitable Trust, supporting industry professionals in need of urgent assistance. There is an opton to donate on Just Giving.

Discover more about it in the plot and then you will come across my full review.

You Tube Link: Love In A Wood

Love In A Wood

THE PLOT

Lady Flippant wants a husband, while pretending not to, with her eyes on Dapperwit. Sir Simon Addleplot’s looking for a wife with a fortune, eying up Mrs Martha. Valentine only has eyes for Christina, but is jealous of everyone. Ranger has his eye on anyone, playing fast with his love, Lydia. And Vincent only has eyes on anyone if it’s in the dark. The night is young, and never has there been a better time for frolics and fun in the wood. —————- LOVE IN A WOOD By William Wycherley Directed by Hermione Gulliford STARRING Jo Stone-Fewings as Mr Ranger James Anderson as Mr Vincent  Danny Sapani as Mr Valentine Ian Gelder as Alderman Gripe Nicholas Le Prevost as Sir Simon Addleplot Paul Chahidi as Mr Dapperwit Christopher Chung as Mrs Crossbite’s landlord, a waiter & servant Nancy Carroll as Christina Lorna Brown as Lydia Linda Bassett as Lady Flippant Ellie Fanyinka as Mrs Martha Debbie Chazen as Mrs Joiner  Hermione Gulliford as Mrs Crossbite Shaofan Wilson as Miss Lucy May Walker as Isabel Jules Melvin as Leonore   Stage Managed by Lou Ballard Edited by Daniel Morley-Fletcher.


You Tube Link: Love In A Wood

Review

Love In A Wood is a delightfully entertaining play in 5 Acts with a 15 minute interval. There is also a lovely surprise from the cast during part of that time.

You get a wonderful feel for who the characters are at the start to read about and then the cast come on. It clearly and ingeniously states character names as people come on and the setting for each act and scene.

It’s brilliant and witty and technically it works well with what they’ve got. It’s a wonderful script and one which I was not familiar of, but that’s one of the beauties of the arts. There are opportunities to explore something different.
The cast speak as though they were in character and on a stage. The characterisation of the households is sublimely played out.
You cleverly only see each character at the time you need to ie not all at once, which works so well and seems theatrical, even on screen. The timing from them all is perfect in all aspects, from comedic timing to when they appear on screen, to passing on coins. It would be no mean feat, but is expertly done and is so well directed by Hermione Guilliford.

Acts in St. James Park, has some lovely sound effects to suggest so. There are occasionally some props and inventive ways to create scenery and costume – pretty impressive for such times. The timely period music is used to great effect between scenes.

There’s some gossip and passing on information and some scandal to be had, which has some intrigue to see what happens next. Throughout they are able to create some changes of atmosphere from humour, to a bit of seriousness and trepidation to more comedy and the energy given, even in a reading is brilliant!

It is above all, such an enjoyable, entertaining Restoration Play that is well worth a look.

You Tube Link: Love In A Wood

Love In A Wood

#QuickReviews of Great Summer Reads In Many Genres of Fiction Part 1 #SummerReads #MustReads #Fiction #CrimeFiction #Thriller #RomanticFiction #HistoricalFiction

Summer Reads
Various Books of Many Genres
By Various Authors

I’ve read a lot of books over this summer, so thought I would share some quick reviews of a few of them. They are in no particular order, except I’ve alternated a crime/thriller with another genre all the way down. I’ve chosen 18 to highlight. There are many genres from crime fiction to thrillers to rom-coms to uplit to historical fiction and more. I have added a link to each part so you can read a bit about the authors, the blurb and full review. I hope you enjoy and gain some inspiration. I am still reading and reviewing. There are many more coming up. Thank you in advance for taking time to read. I always appreciate it. If you click on Full Review for each book, that will take you to the original reviews, which are more in-depth and also have blurbs and more…

Daughers of Cornwall Cover

The Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton – Written with such sensitivity, candour and a little humour along the way; it is an all absorbing read. Set in 1918, 1939 and 2020, discover illigitamacy and family secrets in this atmospheric, well-plotted, compelling book. Click for Full Review

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Killing Rock by Robert Daws – Set in Gibraltar, discover the dark side of this island, with its backdrop lovely sun, sea and sand, in this twisty tale that grips and captivates to the end. Full Review

Miss Benson's Beetle Cover

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce – Discover this wonderfully uplifting book about friendship and a new adventure, even when it takes a lot of determination to make things happen. The contrast between the characters is written so well, it’s a delight to read. Full Review

Secrets of Strangers Cover

The Secrets Of Strangers  by Charity Norman – a fast-paced psychological thriller that takes place in a cafe, with characters who intrigue with all their secrets as this unputdownable and enthralling book unfolds and characters unravel. Full Review

Miseducation of Evie Epworth Cover

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth By Matson Taylor – set in Yorkshire in the  1960’s, this is one of the wittiest books that I’ve read in a long time. There’s the fashions, the music, cake and Evie is trying to make a decision between heading to the bright lights of Leeds or NYC. It already has a lot of recognition and made it to the Radio 2 Book Club. I am informed there will be a second one. Full Review

Hinton Hollow Death Trip Cover

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver – a page-turner of a psychological thriller set in a small place called Hinton Hollow, follow the most unexpected and original narrator, around the area as you meet the characters and see how they mirror society and if there is hope of anything getting better. Full Review

Summer on a Sunny Island cover

Summer on A Sunny Island by Sue Moorcroft – Sun, sea, sand and perhaps a bit of romance on a gorgeous island; all wrapped up in a book that is perfect for lazing with in the sun. Full Review

Before I Say I Do Cover

Before I Say I Do By Vikki Bradley – A rivetting thriller set around a wedding day, supposedly the happiest day of your life. The wedding day is fast approaching and yet there are secrets that the bride would rather not emerge . It’s a thriller that is hard to resist and to put down. Full Review

With or Without You Cover

With or Without You by Drew Davies – A life can change in a second. One day you’re doing the mundane and everything is taken for granted. The next, everything changes. It certainly has a great observed, captivating plot. Full Review

What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath by Adam Croft – First in a brand new series set in Rutland, it gets off to a great start as readers get to know the police and Rutland and some bodies that are emerging. Full Review

The Geometery of Holding Hands cover

The Geometry of Holding Hands Hands by Alexander McCall Smith is the latest installment of  the delightful Philosophy Club/Dalhousie series. With the return of many wonderful characters and an inexpected offer given to Isabelle, involving a Highland estate. It’s a book that will engage and delight fans. Full Review

The Bobby Girls Secrets

The Bobby Girls Secrets By Johanna Bell. Follow this fascinating and enjoyable series about the first volunteer women policewomen. This is the second in the series and I am informed that there is a 3rd in the pipeline. The first is called The Bobby Girls. The bonds of friendship intrigue as do the storylines and this time they aren’t all in one area. Bobby Girl has a new opportunity. There are also interesting photos of the real Bobby Girls and a bit of info about them in the closing pages of the book. Full Review

The Colours Cover

The Colours by Juliet Bates – A bright, bold, incredible book about a character with synisthesia. With exquisitely observed writing, it is a highly absorbing read that will take any reader to the beach and on a trip through someone’s life. Full Review

LionHeart by Ben Kane

Lion Heart by Ben Kane – Don the armour in this atmospheric, compelling book that transports readers into the rich landscape of Richard LionHeart. Forge weaponry and battle, but the action doesn’t stop there as it is much more nuanced than that and focuses on more than just war, which makes it an excellent book in the first in this new series. Full Review

Dance with the Reaper - book cover

 Dance With The Reaper by Wes Markin – Put on your dancing shoes, embrace the reaper and dance through life and death and find the murderer with DCI Yorke. It compels, intrigues and surprises. Full Review

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Perfume Paradiso by Janey Jones – Wake up and smell the perfume and travel through the pages to explore Italy to create a new perfume and perhaps find love, is what comes in this delightful romantic comedy. Full Review

Jacob Boyce cover

The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce by Tom Gillespie – Set between Glasgow, Scotland and Spain, life and art collide, making this an emotional, exquisitely written book that takes readers into a possible forgery and then there’s Jacob’s relationship, but will it survive?Full Review

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes Cover

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley takes you into a beautiful garden and charming characters lives; some of them quite unexpected as an unlikely lot volunteer to bring a garden into the vibrant state it was once in, even though personal lives aren’t always straight-forward. This is a joyful, uplifting summer read. Full Review

#Review of Ten Times Table – 1 Committee, 1 Pageant Funny Results. 5 stars ***** #TenTimesTable @RobertDaws @Ayckbourn #Edinburgh #York #Shrewsbury #Cheltenham #Chesterfield #Brighton @captheatres #Play #Theatre #humour #TheatreGoers

Ten Times Table
By Alan Ayckbourn
Rated – 5 stars *****

Bill Kenwright presents The Classic Comedy Theatre Company, who are performing – Ten Times Table – An excellent play by Alan Ayckbourn, set around a committee trying to put on a pageant. This is a fun revival of the Ayckbourn’s 1970s comedy play that is currently on a UK tour. Below, after the review, is also a list of where the play appears to be touring next, including links.

The Cast includes:

Robert Daws (The Royal, Outside Edge and Roger Roger. Also author and podcaster) 
Deborah Grant (Not Going Out and Bergerac) 
Gemma Oaten (Emmerdale, Holby City) 
Robert Duncan (Drop The Dead Donkey)
Mark Curry (Hollyoaks, Last Of The Summer Wine)
Craig Gazey (Coronation Street and The Full Monty, West End)
Elizabeth Power (EastEnders)

Ten TImes Table.jpg

Review

Braving the beginnings of Storm Ciara, a friend and I went to see the play we had booked months in advance at the Edinburgh King’s Theatre. The verdict – we both Loved It! This is a wonderful play that kept us entertained from start to finish. There were certainly lots of laughs to be had in this captivating, very enjoyable play. With an excellent cast performing the play, it was a great evening.

The basic premise is, a committee that is being formed in the Swan Hotel for the Pendon Folk Festival. It isn’t as easy as it seems as they try to create, develop and put on a re-enactment of “The Pendon Twelve”, after a story about the massacre is discovered.

The results of the committee are hilarious as the story unfolds, showing the many personalities around the table. There’s the chair just trying to keep everything together, albeit not terribly well and often ends up dominated by others, the one who interrupts and doesn’t really get on with anyone and storms out, the shy one, the one who is pedantic, the one just trying to get the task done, the one who doesn’t always follow what is being said or done and people with opposing points of view. The personal issues also come into play a bit too… Even though some of the behaviours/personality types are exaggerated, they are recognisable, so there is a bit of accuracy there.
They all have to find a way to reach the end result – to showcase the pageant. They all want the same goal, but all doesn’t exactly go to plan…

The Committee is led by Ray – played by Robert Daws, who is a treat to watch as he gave the audience a huge range of his acting talents. The way he delivers each line is so on-point and so expressive. Deborah Grant played Helen excellently and with great energy for this strong-willed, character. All the cast give equally terrifically strong performances. There isn’t one who lets the side down as it were.

The play is directed by Robin Herford, who has done a great job in managing this cast and it all flows very well with all the comings and goings.

For a play that is predominantly set around a committee table, it has excellent comedic writing and comedy-timing. It is a fantastic play that I recommend seeing for a great afternoon or evening out. It is highly entertaining from start to finish. My friend and I certainly were not disappointed as we talked about it all the way to the train station. The weather was horrendous with the storm, but it was absolutely worth it.

Here is a list of where the play is touring next:

Mon, 10th February 2020 to Sat, 15th February 2020
Grand Opera House, York»
Mon, 17th February 2020 to Sat, 22nd February 2020
Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury»
Mon, 24th February 2020 to Sat, 29th February 2020
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham»
Mon, 9th March 2020 to Sat, 14th March 2020
Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield»
Mon, 23rd March 2020 to Sat, 28th March 2020
Theatre Royal, Brighton»

#Review of Lucy Mathers Goes Back to Work by Julie Butterfield – A book with relatable qualities for both mothers and fathers @juliebeewriter @rararesources #blogtour #romance #comedy #bookish #fiction #parents #family

Lucy Mathers Goes Back to Work
By Julie Butterfield
Rated: 3.5 stars***-

 

It is my pleasure to present my review on Lucy Mathers Goes Back to Work as part of the Random Resouces blog tour. This is a book that so many parents will find something to relate to within it.

Lucy Mathers Full Tour Banner (2)

About the Author

Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of ‘always wanted to write’ authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper – or rather fingers to keyboard.
She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing!

Social Media Links –

Twitter @juliebeewriter

Website    www.Juliebutterfield.co.uk

 

Blurb

Lucy Mathers was once the golden girl of Simcock & Bright. Four years later, she’s a stay at home mum with two adorable children, has swapped her Louboutins for rabbit slippers and spends her day making crustless sandwiches and colour co-ordinated lunches instead of signing up high profile clients.

When her husband is suddenly made redundant, there is panic in the Mathers’ household. With a mortgage the size of the national debt and a credit card balance that’s in danger of toppling, Lucy reluctantly decides she must return to work. So she digs out her old power suits from the back of the wardrobe and leaves Will to become a house husband. But sitting in Lucy’s old office is Grant Cassidy, suave, handsome and ruthless and with no intention of letting Lucy walk back into the number one job.

At home, despite his breezy declaration that swapping boardroom battles for toddler groups would be a doddle, Will’s belief that parental/household issues could be solved with forward planning and a spread sheet soon falls by the wayside.

With both Will and Lucy struggling to adapt, could their previously happy marriage be developing some cracks?

Lucy Mathers Front cover

Review

The beginning launches right in the middle of a “debate”, what I would more call a family row, but perhaps what others would call a debate, with the tensions there about the fact Will has lost his job and Lucy has a suggestion about them swapping places. It’s something I can quite well imagine happening in many households these days and with the tensions of family dynamics changing and then working through them.

The children – Harry and Emily are their young children with characteristics I am sure will be familiar to so many parents.

In a way it is a pity in some ways that the cover is quite feminine, even though some men are embracing the “pink” in life, because there is a lovely bit when Will is introduced to other parents in the different clubs children love to attend, in a way that may ease any negative as in self-conscious feelings a male may have when there is essentially a role reversal. It made me hope that some positive conversations between mothers and fathers (I say this because this family happen to be a traditional mother and father family, although other shapes and forms of famlies may gain from this fictional book too) can occur around this book.
I must add, going back to clubs/groups, I love that they mention going to a group to sing some nursery rhymes. This type of thing, for parents who don’t know, often takes place in libraries across the UK (perhaps other countries too). In Scotland it is Bookbug, in England it is often Rhyme-time.

t’s interesting about the office dynamics and changes that are faced by Lucy Mathers when she returns to work for Simcock & Bright alongside Rob and Grant. She has worked here before, but returning to work there seems a little different in-terms of position. I was pleased that although things had clearly changed upon Lucy’s return, the atmosphere isn’t a particularly bad one, not always totally positive, but it isn’t as bad as what it could have been. I liked that.

The story then takes readers back to Will, trying out all manner of methods to keep things going at home, including resorting to trying a spreadsheet.

There are however cracks that begin to show and arguments and suspicions of an affair come to the fore. I’ll let readers find out whether Will and Lucy make it through or go their separate ways and to read to also find out what happens at Lucy’s workplace.

All in all the story is pretty good. Parents will relate to so much on some level or indeed, perhaps a very similar level in experience. It is however a little slow in pace. For busy parents needing something to read that is relatable and not going to tax the brain too much, then this is ideal for you.

*With thanks to Julie Butterfield for signing the book. It was lovely of you to do that. Thanks for the print/physical copy of the book, organised by the blog tour organiser.