#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.

Advertisement

#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 Indoor Green – How to care for your houseplants for beginners By Joe Swift @Collins_Ref #IndoorGreen #NonFiction #Hobbies #HousePlants #GardenersWorld

Joe’s Expert Gardening Guide
Create Your Own Indoor Green
How to care for your houseplants
By Joe Swift

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Bring a bit of the outdoors, indoors with this new book that has everything you need to know about indoor plants. Joe Swift is well known on our tv screens for Gardener’s World and many other programmes, and books, imparting his garden expertise. In this book, he encourages, even beginners, to create their indoor green space with house plants. Thanks to the publisher, Collins Reference (Collins), I have a review for you.

Blurb

Transform your home with tips from expert gardener Joe Swift.

Indoor plants brighten our homes, connect us with the natural world and improve our physical and mental health. If you want to turn your living space into an Indoor Green haven, expert gardener Joe Swift shows you how with practical, easy-to-follow advice.

Joe’s no-nonsense approach covers everything you need to know from choosing and buying plants to placing them where they’ll be happiest. He then guides you through caring for them including watering, feeding, re-potting, and combatting common plant problems.

In this book Joe covers a vast range of wonderful, varied and exotic plants from all over the world including flowering and foliage plants, palms, succulents, cacti, bonsai and citrus.

He demonstrates how to put them together in impactful and innovative ways whether they’re grown in an old tin can, a classic pot, a glass terrarium, or part of an ambitious interior green wall!

Joe also explains how to propagate plants to save you money, increase your collection and transform your home further into an Indoor Green paradise!

Joe Swift is an author, TV presenter and garden designer. He makes regular appearances on BBC’s Gardener’s World and the RHS Flower Shows.

Review

Creating your own indoor green, using this book as a guide, is not as daunting as it first may seem, even for beginners. It is an easy to follow book with full instructions and tips for various plants. I feel this would be the book to guide people into becoming more confident in growing indoor plants, whatever their space is. It is so well laid-out and with demonstrations to show off your plants in the best possible way and how to get creative with them, in their pots. Whether you consider yourself green-fingered or not, Joe Swift in this book shows that people can learn something new and makes it easy and inspiring to give it a go, with practical advice and solutions for when there is a problem.

It feels like Joe Swift is almost holding your hand and gently easing you in and guiding you through, so it is far from daunting and instead something for a new project/hobby that can become enjoyable very quickly as well as making your home look lovely and being good for your health. It doesn’t need to be expensive either as he demonstrates within the book how to get more plants from one for your buck/money.

This book, even though, aimed at beginners, could also be useful for those who have already started to create a green indoor space because it is also packed full of ideas and there’s always something new that can be learnt.

This is an exciting and wonderful book that I recommend as it really does cover everything you need to know in an easy to follow, easy to understand way.

#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.

4E5179B1-5B8E-4D3F-AE0C-52F29A481824

#Review by Lou of An Indiscreet Princess By Georgie Blalock @Harper360UK #GeorgieBlalock #HistoricalFiction #RandomTTours #AnIndiscreetPrincess #RoyalFiction

An Indiscreet Princess
By Georgie Blalock

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for a historical fiction book that takes facts of a time and princess from historical times and fictionalises it, but gives some detail about the rebellious and artistically talented daughter of Queen Victoria – Princess Louise. How could I pass up such a book, when there’s my namesake right there? Except, I have no blue blood that I am aware of running through my veins, but I do have a care for and interest in the Royal family.
Discover more about the princess in the blurb and my thoughts of the book in my review. I also thank RandomTTours, Compulsive Readers and Harper Collins UK for the invite to review and a copy of the book.

Blurb

Before Princess Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel.

As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with down-cast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.

But even as Louise cultivates a life outside the palace, she is constantly reminded that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty—and for a princess that means marriage. Refusing to leave England, she agrees to a match with the Duke of Argyll, and although her heart belongs to another, she is determined to act out her public role perfectly, even if her private life teeters on the brink of scandal. But when a near fatal accident forces Louise back under her mother’s iron rule, she realizes she must choose: give in to the grief of lost love or find the strength to fight for her unconventional life.

Review

There have often been royals who have a rebellious side and Princess Louise was, as well as being a bit flighty when younger. To put her life in even more context of time, she also  lived at the same time as Bertie, someone perhaps a bit more known than she.
She, interestingly had a love of art, whilst in a way so did Queen Victoria enjoy the arts, but preferring Mr Browning and his writings, rather than the National Art Training School and all that’s as taught there, which was an interest of Princess Louise, who needs to convince the Queen to let her go and then let her stay for another term, urged by her professor who was constructing a memorial for Lord Holland in Holland Park. This again adds context as well as shows her path in life that she is going down.

What is also interesting is how far in history, Balmoral goes as it is mentioned here in this book. The novel has interesting bits of places that play a role in both today’s society and monarchy and of yesteryear. It gives it another hook, especially since it crosses borders and shows the monarchy, even way back then was for all of the UK, as it is now.

There’s the question of romance,marriage and a wedding and all her emotions as well as the UK coming together, but with Princess Louise’s feelings not being quite as you’d expect from a marriage, nor her actions, partly this is because of the times, partly her personality and her desires being different from the Crown.

It is clear to see that Princess Louise does try to balance her passion for art and her beliefs and her duties, but also that of Queen Victoria trying to steer her away from scandal. This book shows appreciation and royals doing their best, especially that of the Queen and eventually an appreciation of the senior royals and what it means to have the crown. It has a surprisingly good and poignant ending.

The book certainly glides along and the author certainly found a story to tell.

#Review by Lou of An Indiscreet Princess By Georgie Blalock @Harper360UK #GeorgieBlalock #HistoricalFiction #RandomTTours #AnIndiscreetPrincess #RoyalFiction

An Indiscreet Princess
By Georgie Blalock

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for a historical fiction book that takes facts of a time and princess from historical times and fictionalises it, but gives some detail about the rebellious and artistically talented daughter of Queen Victoria – Princess Louise. How could I pass up such a book, when there’s my namesake right there? Except, I have no blue blood that I am aware of running through my veins, but I do have a care for and interest in the Royal family.
Discover more about the princess in the blurb and my thoughts of the book in my review. I also thank RandomTTours, Compulsive Readers and Harper Collins UK for the invite to review and a copy of the book.

Blurb

Before Princess Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel.

As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with down-cast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.

But even as Louise cultivates a life outside the palace, she is constantly reminded that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty—and for a princess that means marriage. Refusing to leave England, she agrees to a match with the Duke of Argyll, and although her heart belongs to another, she is determined to act out her public role perfectly, even if her private life teeters on the brink of scandal. But when a near fatal accident forces Louise back under her mother’s iron rule, she realizes she must choose: give in to the grief of lost love or find the strength to fight for her unconventional life.

Review

There have often been royals who have a rebellious side and Princess Louise was, as well as being a bit flighty when younger. To put her life in even more context of time, she also  lived at the same time as Bertie, someone perhaps a bit more known than she.
She, interestingly had a love of art, whilst in a way so did Queen Victoria enjoy the arts, but preferring Mr Browning and his writings, rather than the National Art Training School and all that’s as taught there, which was an interest of Princess Louise, who needs to convince the Queen to let her go and then let her stay for another term, urged by her professor who was constructing a memorial for Lord Holland in Holland Park. This again adds context as well as shows her path in life that she is going down.

What is also interesting is how far in history, Balmoral goes as it is mentioned here in this book. The novel has interesting bits of places that play a role in both today’s society and monarchy and of yesteryear. It gives it another hook, especially since it crosses borders and shows the monarchy, even way back then was for all of the UK, as it is now.

There’s the question of romance,marriage and a wedding and all her emotions as well as the UK coming together, but with Princess Louise’s feelings not being quite as you’d expect from a marriage, nor her actions, partly this is because of the times, partly her personality and her desires being different from the Crown.

It is clear to see that Princess Louise does try to balance her passion for art and her beliefs and her duties, but also that of Queen Victoria trying to steer her away from scandal. This book shows appreciation and royals doing their best, especially that of the Queen and eventually an appreciation of the senior royals and what it means to have the crown. It has a surprisingly good and poignant ending.

The book certainly glides along and the author certainly found a story to tell.