#BookReview by Lou – The Lock In by Phoebe Lockhurst #PhoebeLockhurst @MichaelJBooks #Summer #ContemporaryFiction #Humour #RomanticFiction

The Lock In
By Phoebe Lockhurst
Rated *****

The Lock In is so humourous, so it is one that will lift people’s spirits. 

You’ve heard of a locked room mystery, now get ready for a locked room love story! You can order one of the funniest, most original rom-com of 2021. Thanks to publishers Michael Joseph for gifting me the copy in exchange of an honest review.

About the Author

Phoebe Luckhurst is a journalist and author, who has written for publications including the Evening Standard, ES Magazine, ELLE, Grazia, Sunday Times Style, Guardian, Telegraph and Grazia. The Lock In is her first novel, and she is currently writing her second.

The Lock In
Blurb

Meet housemates Ellen, Alexa and Jack. They’re broke. They’re lonely. They’re hungover. And things are about to go from bad to worse . . .

Whilst nursing The Hangover from Hell, Ellen stumbles downstairs to discover the kitchen slowly filling with water.

Panic quickly sets in, and the three flatmates find themselves in the attic desperately attempting to switch off the water supply. But when Ben, Alexa’s Hinge date from the night before, walks in, the door slams, the handle breaks, and all four of them are trapped.

As the long hours tick by, Ellen nurses her sore head whilst Ben and Alexa really get to know each other, and Jack plans an unorthodox rescue mission.

But soon Ellen wonders if Ben really is a stranger after all. She is sure she knows him from somewhere . . .

Will these housemates ever get out of this attic? Will they survive the wrath of Elias The Evil Landlord? And will Jack please stop live-tweeting this whole fiasco?

Welcome to The Lock In.

This is a hilarious story of housemates and hangovers and friendship and dating as four twenty-somethings discover what The Worst morning-after-the-night-before really looks like . . .

Fans of Dolly Alderton, Beth O’Leary and Mhairi McFarlane will LOVE this oh-so relatable tale of love, landlords and what can happen behind locked doors

Review

A flat and a landlord from hell is a fabulously fresh predicament to find flatmates in, that is full of warmth of friendship and is laugh-out-loud funny!
A dead mouse and flooding flat due to a sink issue is what Ellen, Alexa, Jack and Ben have to deal with in the morning and then matters go from bad to worse and they end up locked in as a door handle falls off. It’s like a comedy of flat errors. One one hand you can’t help but feel sorry for the characters and on the other-hand because of the way it is skillfully written, it’s all rather funny. There’s also a lesson in there to always have your phone on you and with a high amount of battery charge… They find themselves desperate, which makes it more funny as they try to come up with a plan as to how to get out.

The night before the flatmates are locked in, there is romance in the air and all, right down to the furniture, captures 20-somethings flat-sharing very well. The format of each chapter being named after a character is great as readers get to see their point of views and into their lives, before being locked-in together and during that time.
It is by and large a highly entertaining read that, as it goes on, you can’t help but read on and on, quite wide-eyed at some of it, wondering what can possibly be coming next and how on earth they are going to get out and when. The twists and turns and lengths the flatmates go to is laugh out loud funny.
What is also fun is, not just getting to know the characters, but some of the conversations that go on when locked in.

It’s perfect for reading with, perhaps a glass of wine or a cup of tea, curled up on the sofa or in the bath after a busy day and you just need some pure escapism.

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#Review by Lou of Another Life by Jodie Chapman – A #BetweenTheCovers book pick @jodiechapman @Ells85 @MichaelJBooks

Another Life
By Jodie Chapman

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The book is a pick for Between The Covers on BBC 2, presented by Sara Cox. It has many themes of life, including love and loss as it takes readers on a journey of Nick and Anna’s lives. It starts in the most shocking way, that will be sure to make you gasp in what is a mix of nostalgia and closer to present day as it sweeps through relatable characters lives. It is gripping and emotional all the way through and is sure, in its beautifully written style, to tug at your heartstrings. It’s a very good, strong debut novel.

Check out the blurb and my full review below. Thank you very much to Ellie Hughes for sending me a proof copy to review.

AnotherLife

Blurb

She could be the girl dancing on tables one night, and the next she’d be hiding in the shadows.

Just when I thought I understood her, she would melt away and become a completely new person, and I’d have to start all over again.

That’s how it was with Anna.
_______

Nick and Anna work the same summer job at their local cinema. Anna is mysterious, beautiful, and from a very different world to Nick.

She’s grown up preparing for the end of days, in a tightly-controlled existence where Christmas, getting drunk and sex before marriage are all off-limits.

So when Nick comes into her life, Anna falls passionately in love. Their shared world burns with poetry and music, cigarettes and conversation – hints of the people they hope to become.

But Anna, on the cusp of adulthood, is afraid to give up everything she’s ever believed in, and everyone she’s ever loved. She walks away, and Nick doesn’t stop her.

Years later, a tragedy draws Anna back into Nick’s life.

But rekindling their relationship leaves Anna and Nick facing a terrible choice between a love that’s endured decades, and the promises they’ve made to others along the way.

AnotherLife

Review

Be prepared to be shocked, have your emotions being pulled and have your attention grabbed from the minute you open the book!!!
Another Life is sure to send many readers on quite a life journey! This tells a searing and heart-wrenching story of Nick and Anna as it flips through time, mainly the 2000’s and 1990’s, but also delves into the late 1980’s and 2010’s. It bares an intensity that bores into you as you read in quite a spectacular way, it does take a bit of concentration, but is easy to follow with all the very fast year changes (although maybe a bit too much), but there is a sense of grounding because  of all the connecting themes and the main characters. All those time-frames are woven together to tie life experiences of love, loss, hope all together within these central characters in this substantially, well-plotted book.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s there are brilliant cultural and society references that will whisk you back there, such as Fawlty Towers and Marty McFly and that time travelling car on the TV and Woolworths on the highstreet, it gleams some nostalgia all around in so many ways. So, if you have a desire to travel back in time like Marty McFly, as Nick really wished he could, this book will do it, at least on the page and in your mind.

Some of the arguements about women’s roles and the friend who is old enough to look after themselves over even the simplest of tasks, but doesn’t, hold up pretty well and I am sure many readers will find relatable. Nick, well, he is well-written and depicts this guy who doesn’t always get things right and he doesn’t always know what to say or do. This sort of guy is pretty relatable throughout all of time; as is Anna with her desires in life and her experiences. This is beautifully depicted with the complexities of life throughout in the circumstances the characters find themselves in to their families, relationships and friendships to their personality types.
There’s an intensity and urgency in the need to escape from certain people. places, situations. There is Nick who has seen some dark times in his and his family’s life, who needs Anna to be his constant, his rock. She is strong, but also has her own challenges. There’s the tugs of religion in Anna’s life that set her in a bit of a quandry because of all the rules. There is a desire to lead Another Life from each of them as each have been through a lot of challenges in their lives, mostly brought in by their environment and some of the people around them. 

If you like David Nicholls’ books, you’re sure to enjoy Another Life!

#BookReview by Lou of Dangerous Women by Hope Adams @adelegeras @MichaelJBooks @GabyYoung

Dangerous Women
By Hope Adams
Rated: 5 stars *****

Captivating and original, Dangerous Women expertly tells a tale of fiction and reality, that not everyone may already know about. It weaves, like the threads in the tapestry that inspired this book, words of fiction and real life together to create an epic adventure, laced with crime from the outset that grips and keeps you guessing, as it takes readers on a great advenuture with crime, based on a true-story.
Thank you so much to Gaby Young at Penguin Michael Joseph publishers for adding me to the blog tour and for sending me a book, which has a terrific cover.
Follow onto the blurb and my review.

Dangerous Women 1

Blurb

London, 1841.
The Rajah sails for Australia.
Aboard:
180 convicted women convicted of petty crimes.
Daughters, sisters, mothers –
they’ll never see their family again.
Despised and damned, they only have one another
Until the murder.
As the fearful hunt for a killer begins,
everyone on board is a suspect.
Based on a real-life voyage, Dangerous women is a tale of confinement, hope and the terrible things we do to survive.

Dangerous Women

Review

The book invites willing travellers to hop aboard onto a boat to sail with women branded as dangerous in this story which, even before the book is opened, sounds thrilling on the cover. Then just inside the cover, take note of your fellow travelling companions on the “Register of Convicts.” It will tell you what you need to know of what they’ve been convicted of…

The book takes place between April and July 1841 and what’s interesting about it, is that this isn’t just any historical thriller, this has been inspired by real-life events. It’s inspired by the real life voyage of the Rajah, which set sail in 1841, with 23 year old Kezia Hayter on board as Matron, who features in this book. This gives this book quite some providence and enters a part of history, that, at least in the UK, not everyone may know anything about. It is however a fictional novel too and that’s worth bearing in mind as you travel along on this voyage, but gives inspiration to look into the true facts behind the story afterwards. It may have been nice if there was a bit added at the back about this as I’ve seen it in some other books, but that doesn’t take focus away from what a rip-roaring book this is and there is an interesting Bibliography, which would be a good place to do your own research from, if the mood is upon anyone, who wishes to do this.

Panic fills the book from the beginning and indeed, who has a knife?
There’s a real sense of what it is like onboard of the Rajah and to get a sense of Kezia and why she is onboard is fascinating! The case starts almost immediately and you can almost smell the sea and there’s almost a claustrophobic atmosphere as women grapple with their innocence and yet someone has been murdered and the gallows await whoever has committed such huge crime. Trust has clearly been broken, even amongst these thieves and panic and darkness sweeps across the women in the boat and enters their every waking and sleeping moment. The research that’s then created into story-telling is exquisite and all-consuming as it swallows any fellow voyager/reader whole in a magnificent read.

The pace, you would expect to be a bit slower for such a period piece, but this is quite the opposite and has not too disimilar pacing to a modern day crime fiction book.

As well as the crimes, there is a human interest story weaving throughout, where readers get to know the convicts, their life of crime and their backstory and how some were respectable at certain points in their lives, like Hattie and it is these stories that may well tug at the heart-strings. It tugs at strands of curiosity throughout, including when the convicts meet at Newgate Prison for the first time.

Surprisingly, there’s a bit of glamour and oppoulence that fans of period pieces have come to know and love, injected in the form of stories from the women’s lives before they were onboard the Rajah, especially in Kezia’s life. There’s also sadness, especially in Clara’s life when she was young.

There’s some lightness in atmosphere and a bit of humour, that cuts through, when the women are sewing and there’s a sense of the patchwork being created and building up.

There’s all the supposition adding to the intrigue as to who the murderer is and if the guilty one will be sent to the gallows.

It is absolutely fascinating to read what became of the women and reading the historical note at the end. There is also a comprehensive bibliography for further reading and demonstrates that this has been well researched, so that this work of fiction does have a backdrop of realism to it.

#CoverReveal of Damage by Caitlin Wharer @CaitlinWahrer @JenLovesReading @MichaelJBooks #Damage #TheDamageIsDone

Damage
By Caitlin Wharer

Today I am able to reveal the cover for Caitlin Wahrer’s phenomenal debut novel Damage. Check out the excellent cover and a blurb to capture your curiosity and intrigue for a new addition to the Crime Fiction genre.
Thanks to Jen Breslin at the publisher – Penguin – Michael Joseph for inviting me to be part of the cover reveal.

Damage

ONE NIGHT. ONE CRIME. ONE FAMILY TORN APART.

TONY has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when Nick is badly hurt and it looks like he was the victim of sexual assault, Tony’s anger flares.

JULIA is alarmed by her husband Tony’s obsession with Nick’s case. She’s always known Tony has a temper. But does she really know what he’s capable of?

NICK went out for a drink. After that, everything’s a blank. When he woke up he found himself in a world of confusion and pain, and the
man who hurt him doesn’t deny doing it. But he says the whole thing was consensual.

Three ordinary people; one life-shattering event. When the police get involved with this family in crisis, all the cracks will start to show…

Set to ignite debate and as gripping as your favourite box-set, Damage is a compulsive drama from an extraordinary new writer.

Link to pre-order:

Waterstones: 
https://bit.ly/Damage_ws  

Amazon:  https://bit.ly/Damage_HB