#BookReview By Lou of Bodies In The Water By AJ Aberford @AJAberford @HobeckBooks #PoliticalThriller #CrimeFiction #Thriller #IndyPublisher

Bodies In The Water
By AJ Aberford

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Bodies In The Water is murky, intriguing, gripping and time will pass you by without you even realising. If you liked tvs Homeland, you’ll like this.

Bodies In The Water cover

Blurb

An unwilling hero

Inspector George Zammit, of the Maltese Pulizija likes a quiet life, keeping his head down and avoiding trouble. But when he investigates a body floating in the waters of Valletta’s Grand Harbour, he soon finds himself entangled in an international criminal plot which leads him on a perilous adventure.

A powerful crime family

Natasha Bonnici is part of a sophisticated Italian crime family whose attentions turn to the oil riches beneath the Libyan desert, where they encounter Abdullah Belkacem, a Libyan militia leader with big ambitions. Nick Walker sells his Maltese online gaming company to a shady purchaser and finds himself at the centre of Europe’s biggest money laundering operation.

Troubled waters

Set against a backdrop of the world of oil smuggling, the turmoil of North Africa and the seemingly unchecked corruption in the Southern Mediterranean, their paths all collide, with disastrous results. 

Review

The Bodies In The Water is highly emotive! Readers will get to know a bit about the Maltese population and the Grand Harbour. It sounds idyillc, but there are dark, murky corners.  
This is a story that takes readers into the world of modern-day people trafficking; which happens in many countries and to many people regardless of race, creed, culture; and no longer is it a particular race etc doing the trafficking, people trafficking is done by so many races, cultures etc.

Meet Mobo and Abeao. They are characters who get under your skin and it’s interesting with the story being seen through their eyes in the prologue. There is also a really shady character – Abdullah, who has some rather illicit plans to cease opportunities to make money.

There is a really strong character in Natasha Bonnici, whose early life has been tough, but is also part of a powerful criminal family.

Business and agendas soon show themselves in the fore in the shady characters who are involved in criminality.

Gerald Camilleri of Assistant Commissioner of Organised Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Command is on the case as there are also shady dealings with a gaming company. There is also Inspector George Zammit, whom readers see some of his family life and also meet his daughter – Marianna, which picks up on a different theme – schooling. His life isn’t so quiet as he ends up be on treacherous adventures and inveestigations.

The style of writing is strong, the themes are hard-hitting and important ones at that and this author knows his stuff and has turned it all into a page-turner of a tightly written plot.

#Review By Lou of The Poet By Louisa Reid @LouisaReid @DoubleDayUK @RandomTTours #ThePoet #BlogTour

The Poet
By Louisa Reid

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Poet by Louisa Reid, nikita gill, manjett mann, poetry, poet

The Poet is powerful with current and universal themes told in ways readers may not expect. Check out the blurb and my full review below. First, thanks to the publisher – Double Day and organiser – Random T. Tours for gifting a copy of the book and for inviting me to review.

Blurb

The Poet Cover (1)Bright, promising Emma is entangled in a toxic romance with her old professor – and she’s losing control.

Charming, cruel Tom is idolized by his students and peers – and he thinks he holds all the cards.

In their small Oxford home, he manipulates and undermines Emma’s every
thought and act. Soon, he will push her to the limit, and she must decide:
to remain quiet and submit, or to take her revenge.

The Poet is a portrait of a toxic relationship, about coercive control, class
and
privilege: it is also a passionate, page-turning tale of female solidarity and survival.

Written in verse and charged with passion and anger, The Poet is a portrait of a deeply dysfunctional relationship, exploring coercive control, class and privilege. It is also a page-turning tale of female solidarity and survival.

louisa reid, the poet, erika waller, dog days, poetry

Review

The Poet gives a unique perspective as to how a story about life can be told, in that it is presented in verse inside its evocative cover. It’s a book that may prompt/provoke strong feelings to come to the fore.

There’s rawness, strong emotion, the harshness of life being challenging with a relationship being toxic and coercive control, with a softer tone of something beautiful in nature, a cat and female solidarity.
It looks great on a page, the way the words are set out to get their point across, but I also think it would be great being performed like “street/performance poetry”. There are elements that I imagined would sound great being said aloud, with its light and dark, with the shades inbetween.
The book is powerful, thought-provoking, sometimes soft, sometimes fierce with rage in its universally current themes.
There’s the idea of love, of how things could be for Emma in her relationship with Tom, then comes the searing reality of how the so called romance actually is, with a distinct creepy chill that is sure to run down any reader’s bones to see how his charm changes and turns bad, which has consequences and effects as the writing shows what someone coercing a lover can do and what happens next as a result.
There are places where it turns a corner, into how to survive and female solidarity that has some strength to it.
Overall it is an exquisitely written book.

About the Author

Louisa Reid has lived in Cambridge, London and Zurich, and now lives near Manchester. She graduated with a degree in English from Oxford before training as an English teacher at Cambridge University and she continues to work as a teacher. Louisa is the author of four novels for young adults: Black Heart Blue and Gloves Off were both nominated  for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

The Poet BT Poster

#BookReview By Lou of The Fake Up By Justin Myers @theguyliner @BooksSphere @LittleBrownUK #romcom #ContemporaryFiction #BookRecommendation

The Fake Up
By Justin
Myers

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Fake Up is a highly entertaining rom-com with warmth and humour from the start. Thanks to Little Brown Books for gifting me a book for review and for inviting me to review. Discover more about the book in the blurb and my review below. Also find out what authors like Adam Kay (This is Going to Hurt) and
Laura Kay (The Split), have to say about the book, after my review.

The Fakeup picrom

Blurb

TWO EXES. ONE BIG SECRET. LET THE GAMES BEGIN…

Dylan and Flo are in love. The only trouble is, they split up months ago and everyone was delighted for them.

At first, it’s exciting sneaking around, hiding from disapproving friends, climbing through bedroom windows to avoid family, and concocting hilarious disguises. It’s like Romeo and Juliet. With more sex and less poison.

But soon it becomes harder to separate truth from lies. Dylan and Flo are in way over their heads, and the games have only just begun . . .

The Fakeup pic

Review

The Fake-Up is fabulous right from the first page. It has one of those beginnings that instantly reels you in and instantly. It is rather humorous from page 1. This humour just masterfully builds. It is the first book I have read of Justin Meyers and I am super impressed! It may well not be my last (hopefully). It is a fantastic, rom-com that brings unexpected twists. Some rom-coms are okay, but just make you smile here and there, but leave you wondering where the rest of the comedy element is, but not with this one. This one really makes you laugh out loud!

Dylan and Flo are in love. It wasn’t, perhaps a usual start to a romance, but it sets the premise up for a rom-com well and making it a perfect book to cosy into. 

Flo and Dylan’s love life just isn’t going well at all. There are many obstacles in the way and when they do break up, it is interesting to see how they channel their energy into song and acting to ease their pain…. It leads to a lovely and unexpected consequence in their careers, especially Flo’s.

Then the fun happens when they decide that they don’t really want it to be the end of their relationship at all and find all manner of ways of secretly seeing each other. It keeps an air of mystery to it as you can’t help wonder if they’ll be found out and if their rekindled romance will last. To break cover may not do their careers any good and there are the friends who are glad to see them apart. It keeps you guessing what will happen by the end. It is a book that makes you think it could end in either direction.

The comedic writing of Justin Meyers pitch-perfect for this genre and captures not just rom-com but also a touch of farce very well. It also has some plotlines that are harder-hitting, topical too, and yet are weaved in well, such as sexuality, the pressures of stardom, amongst others, without taking away from the comedy.

The book is perfect for after a hard day’s work or a day for cosying up with a book. With all the good feeling around it and the fun, it’ll make you feel good too as it is properly funny as well as smartly written. It has many ingredients all mixed well for a great, well-crafted rom-com.

Praise for The Fake-Up

‘A brilliantly funny reimagining of the romcom’                        Warm, funny and whip smart’
Adam Kay, author of This Is Going to Hurt‘                              Laura Kay, author of The Split

 

#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