#Review By Lou of Marple By #AgathaChristie; #NaomiAlderman; #LeighBardugo; #AlyssaCole; @lucyfoleytweets; @ellygriffiths; #NatalieHaynes ; @JeanKwok; @valmcdermid; #KarenM.McManus; #DredaSayMitchell; @katemosse; @RuthWareWriter #Marple @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK

Marple
By Agatha Christie; Naomi Alderman;
Leigh Bardugo; Alyssa Cole; Lucy Foley;
Elly Griffiths; Natalie Haynes; Jean Kwok; Val McDermid; Karen M. McManus; Dreda Say Mitchell; Kate Mosse; Ruth Ware

 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have been given the wonderful opportunity to read and review Marple, thanks to Harper Fiction/Harper Collins. I myself have read all of the Miss Marple (and Poirot) books and watched many on tv in their many incarnations too.


Blurb


A brand new collection of short stories featuring the Queen of Crime’s legendary detective Jane Marple, penned by twelve remarkable bestselling and acclaimed authors.

This collection of twelve original short stories, all featuring Jane Marple, will introduce the character to a whole new generation. Each author reimagines Agatha Christie’s Marple through their own unique perspective while staying true to the hallmarks of a traditional mystery.
· Naomi Alderman
· Leigh Bardugo
· Alyssa Cole
· Lucy Foley
· Elly Griffiths
· Natalie Haynes
· Jean Kwok
· Val McDermid
· Karen M. McManus
· Dreda Say Mitchell
· Kate Mosse
· Ruth Ware

Miss Marple was first introduced to readers in a story Christie wrote for The Royal Magazine in 1927 and made her first appearance in a full-length novel in 1930’s The Murder at the Vicarage. It has been 45 years since Agatha Christie’s last Marple novel, Sleeping Murder, was published posthumously in 1976, and this collection of ingenious new stories by twelve Christie devotees will be a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains the most famous fictional female detective of all time.

Review

Miss Marple, at first glance, just some old nosy, but endearing woman in St. Mary’s Meed. In reality, she is a warm, astute woman who isn’t anything to do with the police as such, but gets involved in solving all sorts of crimes and delivering her findings to the often unamused police who put up with her; after all, she is always right and knows how to track down the clues and gets the results.

Agatha Christie created around 25 stories surrounding her character – Miss Marple, all complete within themselves and can often be seen within collections or as solo books. They have also been created into tv dramas by at least 5 different actors playing her at various times. She is the ultimate “Queen of Crime!” A title that was bestowed upon her some time ago and is still true today. She has become the benchmark for cosy crime and the author, many of her contemporaries have also clearly studied, admired and been inspired by. The authors involved have all created their own novels and characters within their own right before this book emerged.

Each author, even though they have their original ideas, seems to have respect for Agatha Christie and Miss Marple. This nicely comes through when reading each story. I was excited to receive this book, but also had an air of trepidation as anyone might when other people write with such a well-known character, but that quickly fell away. Each author has their own spin on things, but each has got the essence of Agatha Christie’s writing down rather well. They have captured the personality of Miss Marple and her quirks and created contemporary, twisty crimes to solve. They’ve managed to retain that immersive quality of trying to guess whodunnit that each Christie story has.

It is a good book for people who either have a love of Miss Marple or to introduce and inspire people to read this and then delve into the original stories.

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#Review by Lou of The Cruise By Catherine Cooper @catherinecooper @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #CrimeFiction #TheCruise #BlogTour #HolidayRead #ChristmasRead

The Cruise
By Catherine Cooper

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for Catherine Cooper’s latest mystery thriller – The Cruise, thanks to Random T. Tours and Harper Collins. Join a deadly glamorous trip of a lifetime and follow the passengers to discover the culprit. It’s a great murder mystery as we approach the festive season of Christmas and New Year. Discover the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

A glamorous ship. A mysterious cast of passengers. And a New Year’s Eve party that goes horribly wrong…

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, disappears. The ship is searched and the coastguard is called, but there is no sign of her, either dead or alive.

Lola was popular on the ship but secretive about her background, and as the mystery around her deepens, everyone on board becomes a suspect. Who was she arguing with the night she vanished?

Why did she come aboard the cruise in the first place? What was she running from?

Review

Immanis is is highly glamorous and very large cruise ship captained by Leo. It oozes glamour and the height of sophistication from the start. Just the amount of bars and restaurants are enough to make me gasp! It is a joy to read of such sumptuous surroundings. The cruise ship is so huge, on one hand you’d think it would be hard for someone to go completely missing, with people knowing traveller’s names, and yet on the other hand, so easy as people go about their new year holiday in the Caribbean and because there are so many and it’s so huge. Lola, one of the crew mysteriously goes missing. Superintendent Bailey and Bill are on the case to discover what happened to her, using all the technology they have at their disposal and by conducting the necessary interviews.
There’s also a lot of speculation surrounding her disappearance amongst the crew. It’s also interesting to read about things from the ship’s doctor’s point of view.

The mystery also takes readers to Inverness, a city in the north of Scotland. The book also whisks readers back to 2013, Catford in London. Then the timeline moves again to 2016, a very interesting year and when more of the story comes together, so it’s worth sticking with. It’s intriguing and it intensifies as the story goes on. Between the past and present, it all becomes rather twisty with an unexpected ending.

#Review By Lou of Cat Lady By Dawn O’ Porter #CatLady #DawnOPorter @hotpatooties @HarperCollinsUK @LizDawsonPR @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #ContemporaryFiction #Cats #BlogTour

Cat Lady
By Dawn O’Porter

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks to Harper Collins PR Team and Random T Tours for the opportunity to review Cat Lady. How could I resist a book called Cat Lady, having, presently having a wonderful, funny, energetic cat myself and having also grown up with Gemma who lived for 20 years. The cat in the photo below is of my current cat, Millie in still single figure age. The book itself has warmth, strength, friendship, relationships, family, humour and emotion. Find the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

Single – independent – aloof – cunning – agile – cannot tamed

We’ve all known a cat lady – and we’ve probably all judged her too. But behind the label – the one that only sticks to women – what if there’s a story worth nine lives?

Told with Dawn’s trademark warmth, wit and irreverence, Cat Lady is a story about defying labels and forging friendships. It’s for the cat lady in all of us – because a woman always lands on her feet…

Millie, taken by Lou
Millie enjoying Cat Lady. All I did was put it down and she was all over it.

Review

Within the book, wrapped in the cuteness of a cat, there is a great human story too and both together makes this quite different and compelling, perhaps in someways a gentle reminder or instruction to lead your life and see where it ends up, even through all its ups and downs that it throws at you, and, if you have a cat, to treasure every moment with it.

There are 5 parts to Cat Lady – Mother, Career Woman, Animal, Wife, Cat Lady. So far, so intriguing, I thought as I then swiftly went beyond the contents page and into a prologue and then the first chapter. The prologue is a memory of Mia’s 8th birthday, and more memories are revealed and resurface at the beginning of each part from a time before tragedy had struck in her family, shaping, at least in part, her later life. Then moves into the rest of Mia’s day as the first chapter begins, which is at a church, sitting in a circle of 5 people in a support group and what a motley crew they make.

Mia is married to Tristan and in the earlier chapters you can almost see her brain ticking overtime, so eager to please, but over planning with no inch for any go with the flow attitudes in her life. She also has a cat – Pigeon, whom Tristan isn’t a fan of, but readers certainly will be.


Belinda also tries hard to show that she too can be perfect and also constantly tries to outshine Mia in everything, since she was Tristan’s first wife, but totally messed it up in eye-popping, jaw dropping fashion. She’s still in Mia and Tristan’s lives as they have a son, making this complex and compelling to see where it all leads, as does all the paths life takes Belinda in.

Life does have its good and difficult bits. I won’t say what, but it does, in amongst all the debates that occur whether to go down a certain path or not, even though what occurs is incredibly sad and left me a little shocked for a moment, I’m sort of pleased that Dawn O’Porter has had the nerve and had been brave enough to write what she has. When readers get to a certain part in the book, I think they’ll know what I mean.

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#BookReview By Lou of The Good Servant By Fern Britton @Fern_Britton @LizDawsonPR @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK #HistoricalFiction #BookRecommendation #BookTwt #TheGoodServant

The Good Servant
By Fern Britton

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Good Servant, a book that is fiction based on fact about an ordinary woman in Dunfermline, Scotland, whose life turned into the extraordinary, in this fascinating and engrossing book.
Thanks to Harper Collins for a review copy.
Find out more in the blurb and rest of my review below.

The Good Servant cover

Blurb

From the no.1 Sunday Times bestselling author comes the story of Marion Crawford, governess to the Queen – an ordinary woman living in an extraordinary time in 1932. Dunfermline, Scotland.

Marion Crawford, a bright, ambitious young teacher, is ready to make her mark on the world. Until a twist of fate changes the course of her life forever…

1936. Windsor Castle.

At first this ordinary woman is in a new world, working as the governess to two young princesses, in a household she calls home but where everyone is at a distance. As the course of history changes, she finds herself companion to the future Queen, and indispensable to the Crown. And slowly their needs become her needs. Their lives become hers.

It’s then she meets George, and falls in love for the first time. Now Marion faces an impossible choice: her sense of duty or the love of her life.

Review

The Good Servant is fiction based on fact. It’s a fictionalised account of Marion Crawford’s life from before, during and after she an employee for the monarchy.
Marion is a young Scottish woman who becomes a governess to two princesses – Princess Margaret and the princess who became our present queen – Queen Elizabeth II. They were devoted to Marion Crawford and affectionately called her Crawfie. She was ambitious, but hadn’t planned to take her ability to teach to that end of the population; her original plan was to educate and be a child psychologist at  the other end of the scale – the underprivieged, until fate drew its hand and changed them quite unexpectedly and dramatically. She took them on a journey of what people who aren’t royalty, call normality.

It’s a fascinating story that is revealed and makes me want to look into Marion’s life more as I am sure many readers will after reading this rivetting book.

The book has an air of authenticity to it and Fern Britton has cleverly woven through the facts of an ordinary woman who suddenly has her life changed to the extraordinary and has to weigh up choices she hadn’t thought she had to face, with the consequences to choose which path she will go along and some of the mistakes made along the way.

There are twists as readers see what mistakes are made and motives uncovered, involving a certain man in her life.

This is a book I recommend as it is very interesting, about a woman I certainly was barely aware of and the writing coupled with the research makes it a very good read.

#BookReview by Lou – Freckles by Cecelia Ahern @Cecelia_Ahern @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK @RandomTTours #Freckles #Fiction

Freckles
By Cecelia Ahern

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Freckles Graphic 2

Freckles is a warm and well-observed book with interesting concepts.
Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below, as well as a bit about the author.
Firstly, thanks to Random T Tours for inviting me to the blog tour to review and to Harper Collins for this opportunity and for an e-book.

Freckles Graphic 3

Blurb

Freckles Graphic‘Freckles is a beautiful, hopeful book when the world needs hope most. Cecelia has written a novel about our search for our authentic selves in a crazy world. Like all her novels, it’s inspiring, life-affirming and full of insight’ CATHY KELLY
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with… When a stranger utters these words to Allegra Bird, nicknamed Freckles, it turns her highly ordered life upside down. In her current life as a parking warden, she has left her eccentric father and unconventional childhood behind for a bold new life in the city.
But a single encounter leads her to ask the question she’s been avoiding for so long: who are the people who made her the way she is? And who are the five people who can shape and determine her future?
Just as she once joined the freckles on her skin to mirror the constellations in the night sky, she must once again look for connections.
Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and growing into your own skin.
Five people. Five stars. Freckle to freckle. Star to star.

Review

Freckles 3D CoverFreckles is a bit like 6 degrees of separation in some ways and an interesting concept to find connections. Allegra Bird is otherwise known as Freckles, who is by and large an interesting character and yet someone readers will be able to connect to. It begins with her connecting her own actual freckles in different, creative ways and gets her thinking about life connections and how it can shape a person. It’s a though-provoking concept and one that makes you think about who are the 5 people you are most connected in life and in what ways they play a part in making you who you are as she tells you that you are the average of 5 people.

Freckles is a “plan A” type of person and has grit and determination to stick with it, no “plan B”, until the first plan doesn’t work and she ends up being a parking warden with Fingal County Council, so she’s not totally inflexible and it’s close to her desires. She’s an enjoyable character to discover more about, as is where she is based – Malahide, a real place, near Dublin, with its beautiful scenery, which Cecelia Ahern presents so well and truly paints a picture of there and Valentia.

Freckles tells her story in the first person and of the people she meets and the routines she has, such as the bakery she goes to and who serves her. The writing is so accomplished and is so well thought out that it is almost like you are following Freckles around her lifestyle. From the start you’re pulled into her life in the present and also get a peek into her past, when she was at boarding school. The past, especially is written in such a way that you could be sitting next to Freckles having a wonderfully fascinating conversation.

Readers will meet Becky and Donnacha, who she babysits for;  Pops, who loves music; Paddy who is a work colleague; a person who is a Great Dane Walker and Spanner who is a baker, each with interesting lives, some also with secrets. There’s friendship and human connectivity at the heart of this story, how people’s paths cross, how some become part of routines, yet not taken for granted. It also tells a story about how lives aren’t always rosy. Freckles however seems a positive and friendly person to get to know and it is fascinating to see who outwith her family at each stage of her life had some influence in her character building. It’s a book that may make you do some introspection too as Freckles leads you down the path of self-discovery and also having the desire, even if it seems impossible to write letters to certain people, which certainly brings a different slant to things, with some added warmth and humour.

Freckles is a heartwarming and entertaining book to explore and by then discover who connects to who and how they all connect back to Freckles.

About the Author

Cecelia Ahern Author PicCecelia Ahern is one of the biggest selling authors to emerge in the past fifteen years, having sold more than 25 million copies worldwide in over 50 countries.
Two of her books have been adapted as major films and she has created several TV series in the US and Germany. Her novel PS I Love You was a New York Times bestseller and huge #1 bestseller in Ireland and the UK. In 2007, it was made into a major film starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler and most recently,
Cecelia wrote the sequel- Postscript which was an instant bestseller.

Cecelia has written 13 bestselling novels including two YA novels and a critically acclaimed collection of short stories, ROAR which is being produced by and starring Nicole Kidman. Her novels have resonated with readers everywhere through their thoughtful, unique and inspiring storytelling and have won numerous awards.
Cecelia lives in Dublin with her family. To find out more please visit http://www.cecelia-ahern.com

Freckles BT Poster

#BookReview by Lou – Meet Me In Another Life by Catriona Silvey @silveycat @HarperVoyagerUK @fictionpubteam #Fiction

Meet Me In Another Life
By Catriona Silvey

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Meet Me In Another Life is compelling. It is so inventive and very different in concept. It will keep you guessing to the end. Thanks to Harper Voyager for allowing me to post about the cover reveal some months back and for gifting me the book in-exchange for an honest review.

Meet In Another Life

Blurb

’Beautifully explored and deeply complex’ Gal Gadot

Joyful, devastating, and profound, Meet Me in Another Life is a story of love and connection in every possible form that will captivate fans of Stuart Turton, Claire North, and Audrey Niffenegger.

Thora and Santi have met before…

Under the clocktower in central Cologne, with nothing but the stars above and their futures ahead.

They will meet again…

They don’t know it yet, but they’ll meet again: in numerous lives they will become friends, colleagues, lovers, enemies – meeting over and over for the first time, every time; each coming to know every version of the other.

Only they can make sure it’s not for the last time.

But as they’re endlessly drawn together and the lines between their different lives begin to blur, they are faced with one question: why?

They must discover the truth of their strange attachment before this, and all their lives, are lost forever.

Review

Meet In Another LifeIt starts with Thora, who is a bit lost in life and wishes she could start over again, but then she meets Santi. This book is partly about having an event occurring that means relations with another person is disconnected and at different points in their lives, they are repeatedly brought together, but it’s more like they meet for the first time, over and over again. A bit like Groundhog Day, except it is so much more than that as they live so many different lives and are in a different one, each time they meet. It’s done in quite a unique way and just as you think it may head in one direction, it takes you in another as they come back in different relationships, and not how you would think at all. It’s different relationships to each other, like student and teacher and so many more… The book keeps you guessing about what is actually going on and what life they’re going to live next and when they’ll meet again… For that first time. It keeps you guessing how it could possibly all end.

The characters and the concept is absolutely enthralling and it all just pulls you into one part of life to another. It’s sweet, imaginative, entertaining, profound and emotional.