#Review by Lou of The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman for #BlogTour @richardosman @VikingBooks @penguinrandom @EllieeHud #TheManWhoDiedTwice #TeamOsman #CrimeFiction

The Man Who Died Twice
By Richard Osman

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review written by – Louise (Lou) – Day 4 of the blog tour

Blog tour 1 copy

Firstly I am astonished and so excited to have in my grasp, as proof copy of The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman, but does it live up to his debut – The Thursday Murder Club, which was so fantastic and captured my heart? YES, YES, YES! I am captured all over again by this book and from the first page! He’s only written 2 novels and it feels like I’ve been reading them for ages because of the long lasting effect. I had high expectations. Who wouldn’t after all the success of The Thursday Murder Club and my expectations have been met, so I am very excited to tell you about this unputdownable book. It’s a phrase used a lot, but it really is and is another Must Read from Richard Osman. 
Put it this way. I read it in a couple of days. It would have been one, but I thought I should give my cat a bit of attention and also sleep, even though I did end up reading into the wee small hours.
Please follow down to the blurb and my full review of the book that takes the Thursday Murder Club to darker places and with many, many murders and a whole lot of intrigue and humour…
Before I do, I thank those behind Team Osman at Viking Books who gifted me a proof copy  and for inviting me to the blog tour.
Now, I leave you with the blurb and the rest of my review and a pic of the book I also bought with spredges.

wp-1631947428748.jpg

Blurb

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can the Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

Review

The Man Who Died Twice (The Thursday Murder Club Book 2)For a second book, this is absolutely sublime and is just as wise and witty and just as excellent as the first book. I already know I would love to read the third book in this terrific series.
Firstly I love that it starts the following Thursday. That’s a great place to start if ever I saw one for a sequel. The gang of retirees are still sitting around in their retirement home discussing cold cases in their own formed club – The Thursday Murder Club, that is full of characters that are so easy to invest in and want to know more about, and one in-particular has a very interesting past indeed and quite some connections, which shows a life drawn into the darker corners.

There are many bodies, a life in danger and diamonds, so therefore a case to be solved and The Thursday Murder Club, using all their skills before retirement and all their wiley ways get deeply involved, but rather differently from the first book, now that they are established. It also takes one of them on quite the unexpected adventure on the Channel Tunnel. It’s all easy to get hooked into.

The mystery all begins when Elizabeth recieves a letter from an old colleague/friend, who she hasn’t seen since 1981. It piques my interest a lot. There within lies a great mystery full of tightly constructed twists and turns. The Thursday Murder Club, after all, have a wish for something exciting to happen again. Anything, it would seem.
They do indeed have the taste for live mysteries to weedle themselves into being involved now, instead of sitting around just discussing them for their amusement.

The conversation is humorous, pretty realistic and brings not only some lightness, but also the desire of wanting to stay up-to-date with tech, but in their own manner. Now she’s wondering whether to be on Instagram or have a dog. What a choice to make!
The tone of writing is just sublime and my goodness, all of the dialogue is spot-on, whether its serious, pregamatic or comical to the onlookers. It’s so expertly done and well concieved.
The creation of Joyce is still as fabulous as ever! Elizabeth, Ibrahim and Ron are also very welcome to see return.

The story also shows, like the first one, that older people had a life outside a retirement village and they have an interest in the world, when in one. Elizabeth for one is an interesting character with quite an intriguing past, that is delved into more in this book. Readers also get to see a number of Joyce’s likes in life, a lot involving the BBC, which adds entertainment and interest as well as a number of people and shows folk would be familiar with. It fits with the characters and in part, is perhaps rather (and nicely) shrood on Richard Osman’s part. He is an incredibly clever man after all.

There is a nice nod to independent bookshops and a direct message within this to the public, which I wholeheartedly approve of. It is also enjoyable reading about Ibrahim’s visit to one and picks up a book you would perhaps not instantly think he would, until something happens to him…

DCI Chris Hudson and PC Donna Freitas are friends and colleagues and he can’t stop waxing lyrical about her mum, perhaps to the point of obsession in a funny way. They are also after Connie, a drug dealer/wholesaler.
When they are with the group that makes up The Thursday Murder Club, they, as ever, have to put up with them wanting everything solved instantly, or even yesterday, especially when it comes to one of their friends.
There are, it turns out there are many ways that The Thursday Murder Club can help, both on the case with the skills and connections they possess and also in their  personal lives, especially Ibrahim, as the book continues its theme of loneliness. It makes a stark and really important point that it can hit people at any age and not just that of retired people. It’s weaved into the plot so well.

I think this should be made into a film too as it goes. Hopefully Steven Spielberg is looking at this book too. I also hope Richard Osman writes more of The Thursday Club. I’d be more than happy to keep reading and reviewing them.

#BookReview of amazing 5 star book – The Things I Want To Say But Can’t By Carla Christian @Carla_C_Author @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

The Things I Want To Say But Can’t
By Carla Christian
Rated: 5 Stars *****

Not so long ago I revealed the cover for The Things I Want To Say But Can’t. Now I have the priviledge of sharing my review of its contents. Readers are in for a treat! This is a debut novel, but it feels like this author has been writing for years. This book seriously reads like there have been many books under her belt, even though there is not. It’s seriously impressive and hard to put down.

One emotional journey of life! That’s what this story is. It’ll grab you and hold you so you can’t let it go and will stay with you for a bit longer as you come to terms with what just happened. I don’t think readers will be disappointed. I certainly was not.
In the acknowledgements, Carla Christian credits being inspired by One Day by David Nicholls. It’s certainly almost as good as that, but with a bigger intensity. Both One Day and The Things I Want To Say But Can’t, hook you into characters lives, but different genres. Then there is “You” in the story…
I thank Love Books Tours for inviting me on the blogtour to review. I thank Carla Christian for signing the book and for Lets Get Booked for sending it. Please note this has no bearing on what I have rated or written in the review. I have based it on its own merits. 

Find out more below in the blurb and my review.

About The Author

CopenhaganMe (1) (2)Carla Christian lives in the Lake District in the North of England. A busy working mum of two teenagers, she has a passion for writing, art and travel, and these interests have been a part of her for as long as she can remember. 

Constantly inspired by both the good and the bad in the world around her, she spends much of her time creating in one way or another; be it painting canvases for the blank walls of her new home, sketching pictures to capture memories of the many travel adventures she’s been lucky enough to go on, baking fantastical cakes with her daughter, or writing endless beginnings to a million unfinished stories.

The Things I Want To Say But Can’t is her first novel.

Blurb

‘A lifetime of endings, a million goodbyes. None of them right. It’s funny what you remember when you’ve got nothing else to think about. All those things you should’ve said while you had the chance. You never learned, did you? You never, ever learned.’

Belle has a habit of losing things. Her friends. Her lovers. Her mind.

Everything ends eventually, or at least that’s what life has taught her. But what if everything she lost came back again? What if she got a chance to finally have her say? To face her past. To put things right.

Second chances aren’t easy when memories are all you have. So, when Belle invites the nightmares of her past back in, is she willing to deal with the consequences? Because maybe, just maybe, this time she’s getting what she deserves.

What I Want to Say Cover

Review

Sharp, cutting and moving from the start, this tells the story of Isobel’s life. It’s definitely one powerful story that Carla Christian has written. The pain is striking! The sense of real emotion is written with a light touch and yet so excellently observed. It starts at a funeral to a new love and beyond. The pain is physical, psychological, emotional. It’s uncanny how recognisable it is, right to every nuance. I, who rarely cries, wants to, but doesn’t, and instead, I carry on in amazement at the writing, wanting to know more as it’s off-set with some joyous moments before turning a deep, dark corner. It’s quite extraordinary and incredibly enthralling and good!

There’s a new potential lover who comes onto the scene in a bar. She can’t take her eyes off this person. I can’t take my eyes off the words leaping off the page as the intensity increases. This is clever. The writing remains taught, even when Isobel is recalling compliments. Everything becomes heightened. What if her lover – referred to as You, discovers too much about her?

Butterflies do come into it when Isobel comes across Amy. She has a jar full of caterpillars because she wants to see them turn into butterflies. It’s sweet and innocent, mostly. Do take note of the dates as there are some that go back to the time of childhood. It works incredibly well in telling a bit of back story, which eases off the tension a little, before ramping it up again in Isobel’s adult life, especially with “You”.

The contrast between the beauty and vividness of butterflies and the darker edges of human life is stark and paints a picture itself. One that twists to some dark places of human behaviour and the cruelty that can occur in life that can creep up and subtly build and build, before you know what’s going on. It makes for a fascinating read of cause and effect and how the past is often still there and how it can mould, shape and transform life.

Interestingly, readers can, in part 2 of the book, see what happened before “You”, when there was the relationship with Matthew, which is when life begins to slide. Then there is the third and part of what happens after “You” and things change again, with so much to face and overcome. The fourth part is The End that is shocking! Brilliantly written, but shocking, not for art’s sake of creating a crescendo, but because it is fitting with the story.

Those caterpillars, earlier, in the jar, waiting to be beautiful, elegant butterflies becomes more and more nuanced in adult life. What seemed innocent in childhood, becomes less so later on, I realise as my mind casts back and then to the current pages, as it becomes more apparent that there’s a lot more than the lust of earlier, it turns into something ugly and would make anyone wonder if she’s always going to be trapped like those caterpillars or if there will she be able to fly away, like the butterflies?
Read this amazing book to find out if she, like the caterpillar, can transform?

Buy Link  Amazon

Ahead of my #Freckles Review – a Reblog of my 2020 Write Up of Q and A with Cecelia Ahern @Cecelia_Ahern @BeccaKBryant @LizDawsonPR @fictionpubteam #Postscript #Freckles

Q&A with Cecelia Ahern
Ahead of the paperback publication of Postscript
the sequel to PS. I Love You!

I have been given a great honour of joining a small group of book bloggers to collaboratively interview PS. I Love You author Cecelia Ahern. She has now published the sequel – Postscript, in which the hardback is available now. The paperback is available 1st October 2020.

First – the blurb of Postscript and a short review, with a more full on review to follow at a later date. Do follow the blurb, the short review and then onto the Q&A where you can find out some really exciting information about Postscript, what she is writing next and much more…

The PS, I Love You Club.

These are the six words written on a card handed to Holly Kennedy. They’re words that are engraved on her heart – because PS, I Love You is how her husband, Gerry, signed his last letters to her, letters that mark a year she will never forget.

Now, the mysterious club wants something from her. And if Holly can find the courage meet them, she’ll learn what it really means to live life to the full.

Because every love story has one last thing to say…

Postscript pic

Short review

Postscript is just amazing as it tackles so many themes from health issues to grieving. It’s a beautifully written book that has so much emotion within it. The health issues have clearly been researched, but don’t dominate. There is plenty of positivity in this book. It is, even after all these years, is at least as good as PS I Love You, if not a bit better in how it is written. Nothing is lost and there’s everything to gain when reading this, including feeling that it is a really emotional journey, but one taken with passion and feels heartfelt. It’s a great book to get reacquainted with Holly and other characters and meet some new ones too.

Cecelia Ahern pic    Postscript pic  
Q&A

How did you spend Lockdown?

Building Hogwarts Lego. That took about 4 weeks and worked on it for about an hour every evening.
She danced and cooked and walked a lot and got excited when the Irish government also increased the distance of travel from 2km to 5km and could go to a coffee shop to buy a coffee.

Cecelia also has 3 children of the ages of a nearly 1 year old, an 8 and a 10 year old. She hopes never to do homeschooling again.

Do you think as a writer lockdown suited you well?

She reckoned it doesn’t suit everybody, perhaps not extroverts who get their energy from being around other people. She is comfortable about not socialising all the time. She did however miss her family.
She was on maternity leave until May. She then started to edit her new novel (more about that later).#

What sort of research she went into for health issues within the book, such as Cancer and MS?

She wanted to not get into Hollie’s appointments too much to get a balance. There were many drafts and some were more involved than others. There were 4 people who were ill. She wanted more of an introduction to each illness. MS she was fairly familiar with beacause she takes part in the MS Readathon in every year in Ireland.
She wanted to introduce a brain tumour so Hollie was watching a young man going through the same thing.
She thoughtfully pointed out that everyone doesn’t experience the same thing in every illness. She didn’t want to be vague or wishy-washy, but also not too caught up in it. She wanted to concentrate on some of the hope.
She also talked candidly about emphasemia, which is in the book too, as her grandmother had it and had smoked all her life. She talked how there was still humour, even though she was going round with an oxygen tank near the end of her life and wanted some of the humour to come through, which she does well.

From Writing PS I Love You and so many years later, Postcript. How was it for you to write the sequel?

She was never going to write Postcript as she was perfectly happy with how it ended and PS. I Love You was a huge success. PS. I Love You made her and she didn’t want a sequel to break her. She also likes writing different books year on year.
In 2012 she thought about the things that you do for people you’re going to leave behind, so got inspired to write a story from the opposite perspective of PS. I Love You and also then from the perspective of people about to say goodbye and the preparations. She really wanted to put Hollie in it and look at it from Gerry’s perspective. She then had to find the seeds she planted in PS I Love You, like sunflower seeds within that book.
She talked about how it was really challenging to write. In Postcript she has to look at the letters again and looking at the positives and not so and wanted to address how there was conflict between them.
She started to write before she told her publishers to see if she could and felt emotional enough about it, which she did.

Who did you write the book for?

She wrote it for her and those who really love PS I Love You and had it in mind that so many people loved that book. She also looked at the tone of the book and also show the writer she was then and the writer she is now, but without taking too many wild leaps, like in her short story collection, and went back to the humour and sweet tone of PS I Love You.

How did you feel when Postcript went out to readers?

She said that a lot of people have read it before-hand and tries not to get hung up on that, but hopes it is better than the first novel.

The members of the PS I Love You Club. How did you decide which problems to bring into the club and are there any you thought of and discounted?

I wanted to have different illnesses. She knew from the beginning she wanted a mother and the Will idea. Geneka is her favourite. She wanted a mother and a Will and having her want to learn to write letters for her child.

Film

Postcript will be made into a film. Hillary Swank emailed Cecelia wanting to read Postcript. She will be in the film because she said of all the films she has made, PS I Love You is mentioned the most and everyone involved in that film say the same thing. The same production team and writer will be involved again in the film. She has a lot to juggle from the book and the PS. I Love You film.

What author inpires you in your work most of all?

She reads fiction and loves crime fiction, especially Karen Slaughter and Lee Child and Jane Casey. She loves One World Publications because they publish and translate from all over the world. She also loves poetry, such as those from Sarah Cross. She also reads YA novels.
If she ever wrote a crime novel, she would write golden-age crime novel, not the forensic side.

Her next novel is called Freckles, due in autumn 2021. It’s works around the theme that comes from a phrase “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
It’s about a character who is very logical and straightforward parking-warden. She hears this expression and starts to look at the people around her and wonders if she wants to be the average of those five people and if she could curate her life in who she wants to be. So, she reaches out to certain people to see if she can be the average of those.
There is also a lot going on in her life that makes her want to do this.’

Postcript is published in paperback on 1st October 2020.

Postscript pic

#BookReview by Lou of Deja Vu by Bobby Twidale #BobbyTwidale @CherryPublishi2 #RomanticFiction #Fiction

Deja Vu
By Bobby Twidale

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Deja Vu, even though set in and around the school, is firmly in the adult fiction genre, with its big themes that twist this way and that and have so much unexpected depth and shines a light into some current situations. All combined, with great plotting, this all makes it rather more compelling than expected.
Thanks to Cherry Publishing for inviting me and gifting me the book to review. You can find the blurb and review below.

Deja Vu pic

 

Blurb

Connie Bentley is not your average Newly Qualified Teacher. Moving back to live with her parents while working at St George’s Independent Day School for boys is not how she imagined her life would be at thirty-two.


Art teacher Matt Turner is not average in any way. A relationship with a colleague eight years ago didn’t lead to the happy outcome he’d expected — he’s now older, wiser, and warier.

When Connie and Matt meet, the spark of attraction is immediate and mutual. Although neither is going to admit to that because the more they learn about each other, the more they’re both getting an uncomfortable feeling of déjà vu.

Will past hurt, raw wounds, and unexpected twists stand between them, or will they both get a second chance at love?

Review

Connie Bentley has a tough start at her new school, where she is a newly qualified teacher, appointed to teach French,, even from the minute she sits down in the staff room, due to that age old problem of poor communication, so she didn’t get certain messages, but the staff seem nice enough, when she starts to meet them.

The fact it is about a romance between teachers appealed to me, since, when I was school age, lots of years ago, an English teacher had an affair with an Art teacher. It did work out for them, with its own life twists and turns, I learned later.

Deja vu has humour in and around the staffroom, all those things you may or may not see if you’re a pupil. It is also about moving onwards in life and shows that teachers are only human too. Connie had a relationship,  before her new job and is now at this boy’s school for a new start. What a new start she gets when her birthday comes around with an absolute eye-popping present that many people could only dream of.

The book does in fact concentrate on that whole school vibe from a way that is most definitely adult romantic fiction with the themes it presents. It’s entertaining reading the banter, but there’s also some sorrow in there too as it takes a well-observed look at their lives outwith the classroom too. You get a good feel for the atmosphere around the staff and it is pretty lovely, it makes it feel like a school anyone would want to work in or be associated with, by the way they treat their new team member.

Matt is an interesting character as he pretty much keeps himself to himself and builds metaphorical barriers around him when it comes to women, especially on social occasions. It creates an air of mystery and intrigue to know what happened to him. This brings a whole different slant on things as often, if there’s going to be a character, such as Matt, it is the female, so it turns certain subjects on its head, adding to the intrigue.

There’s tension built up between 2 members of staff. It’s a subject that is current, real and very serious. It is one that brings such a twist and such powerful themes to the whole romance genre.

#Review by Lou – Everyone Is Still Alive By Cathy Rentzenbrink @CathRentzenbrink @Phoenix_Bks @RandomTTours

Everyone Is Still Alive
By Cathy Rentzenbrink

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Everyone is Still Alive is a moving, well-observed story about parenthood and more… It has wit and challenges and certain aspects made me think of hit tv show Motherland in someways.
Thanks to Phoenix Books for gifting me with the book and to Random T Tours for organising this and inviting me to review

Find out more in the blurb and my review below.

Everyone Graphic

About the Author

Cathy Rentzenbrink Author PicCathy Rentzenbrink grew up in Yorkshire, spent many years in London, and now lives in Cornwall.
She is the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of THE LAST ACT OF LOVE, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize, and the acclaimed memoirs A MANUAL FOR HEARTACHE and DEAR READER. EVERYONE IS STILL ALIVE is her first novel.

 

Blurb

Everyone Is Still Alive CoverThe wise, witty and moving debut novel from SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author Cathy Rentzenbrink
– exploring the deeper reality of marriage, parenthood and the way life thwarts our expectations.
It is summer on Magnolia Road when Juliet moves into her late mother’s house with her husband Liam and their young son, Charlie. Preoccupied by guilt, grief and the juggle of working motherhood, she
can’t imagine finding time to get to know the neighbouring families, let alone fitting in with them.
But for Liam, a writer, the morning coffees and after-school gatherings soon reveal the secret struggles, fears and rivalries playing out behind closed doors – all of which are going straight into his new novel . . .
Juliet tries to bury her unease and leave Liam to forge these new friendships. But when the rupture of a marriage sends ripples through the group, painful home truths are brought to light. And then, one sundrenched afternoon at a party, a single moment changes everything.
EVERYONE IS STILL ALIVE is the story of several families who live on the same suburban street, all
secretly struggling with the anxieties of the modern world whilst trying to maintain the illusion that
everything is fine. This is a novel about guilt, grief, working motherhood, the mental load, envy, fear and
status, but it’s also about love, friendship, community and how we figure out what really matters.

Review

It has a striking beginning in the prologue, with what people worry about. Juliet and Liam are parents to Charlie and have just moved house and discover they live across from Brian and Jim, who kindly introduce themselves.

The book deals with death and grief in the family as Charlie’s gran’s died. It leads readers into very moving depicitions of a family trying to be okay and deal with it all, especially with a child and Charlie has his own concerns and how he views granny as having being more fun than mummy. It then shows Juliet making an effort as Charlie goes to his new school and existing parents making an effort and Juliet integrating into her new life on Magnolia Road. Readers then get to know a bit more about Helen and Dan and their children, Daisy and Freddie and how Freddie needs his fidget spinner and how his parents are wondering what’s going on with his behaviour and tantrums.
Everyone Is Still Alive shows a little about some of the difficulties with bonding at times, as well as the joy and the social occassions, work getting in the way, the compromises, the stuff that some parents feel obliged to be in, such as PTA meeting. It shows the whirlwind of parenting, whether still together or co-parenting, as Lucy and Bas are and the issues and feelings and questions that throws up about what they really want.

There’s also a sudden incident that occurs in Juliet’s family that is sure to also keep readers gripped as it’s a matter of life or death.

It’s an insightful book into different people’s lives, emotions, kindness, relationships. It may even have people looking at their own lives.

There’s humour, honesty and emotion and many situations that families get themselves into, which are well-observed. It also shows a resilience, which I think may interest many readers. I also think if you like Motherland on TV, you may like this book.

Readers will find “The Credits” at the back have a fascinating insight into just how many people work on a book to get it out there into the public sphere so people can read it.

#Book #Review by Lou Kiera’s Quest by Kristy Brown #KristyBrown #middlegrade #Fantasy #Kids #Quest

Kiera’s Quest
By Kristy Brown

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Travel between the real and a fantasy world. Join a quest. Discover fantastical people and creatures and so much more… Come across trepidation and humour as you read. This is what this book invites older middle-grade readers.
Thanks to the author – Kristy Brown who wrote to me enquiring about me reviewing her book.
Discover more in the blurb and what I think about it in my review… Also find out where to buy this book below too.

Kiera's Quest

Blurb

Kiera’s a seemingly normal girl brought up by her uncle and abandoned by both parents. Life is as normal as she believes it to be, apart from the deep ache inside, telling her she’s different. For years, Kiera’s had dreams about venturing into a magical reality. She’s not alone; a presence is always there, keeping her safe, yet she feels vulnerable, and hunted.Zakk, Prince of Zantar, is under the Witch Queen’s spell as she tries to take over his world. He crosses paths with Kiera, changing her life forever.As their journey unravels, Kiera discovers she’s not the only one affected by this prince. Why has she been chosen? How can someone so young, defeat such evil? Will she find the strength to save the ones she loves? Will this be Kiera’s only quest?

Review

Kiera's QuestIt’s gripping from the start with Zakk confronting his mother’s murderer. It isn’t graphic or anything, but this is suitable for older middlegrade readers. Then readers get to meet Keira who sounds fun and loves to sing and dance. You get to know their mother – Lynne Matthews and the impact she had on the music scene.

There are characters in the fantasy world for readers to meet, such as The Witch Queen with her commands and her own quest going on. There’s also a giant and a doll and more… The book has mild trepidation and is sure to keep children amused as they plunge into this other world. It’s great that there is humour that lifts and is as entertaining as the adventure itself. As well as The Witch Queen, Googey is also a character to watch and be on your guard with. There’s also a specially crafted machine that Keira and Zakk need to stop the queen from trying to open a vortex with. This is an adrenaline fuelled read kids will enjoy and highly potentially be gripped by.

The book tackles loss, friendship, working to achieve an end goal, good and evil, arranged marriage (briefly).

In the real world, Kiera has her issues and the school counsellor wants to see her, but the quest she is on keeps her from having the time.

The book focuses on the imaginative and brings fun and trepidation that makes it quite the page-turner.

Buy Link – Amazon