#BookReview by Lou of #NewBook – Just Like You by Nick Hornby @nickhornby @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks

Just Like You
By Nick Hornby
Rated: 5 stars *****

Excellent observations and a whole mix of life, romance and politics and everything you would expect from Nick Hornby within his fabulously astute writing style. It’s all brought together to make a great story in Just Like You, with relatable characters.

Thank you very much to the publicist at Viking Books for allowing me to review Just Like You.

Blurb

Lucy married just the sort of man you might expect: a university graduate who runs his own business. Unfortunately he turned out to have serious dependency issues.

Joseph is shaking off the memory of his last date, a girl who ticked all the right boxes and also drove him up the wall.

On an average Saturday morning in a butcher’s shop in North London, Lucy and Joseph meet on opposite sides of the counter. She is a teacher and mother of two, with a past she is trying to forget; he is an aspiring DJ with a wide-open future that maybe needs to start becoming more focused. Lucy and Joseph are opposites in almost all ways. Can something life-changing grow from uncommon ground?

Nick Hornby’s brilliantly observed, tender and brutally funny new novel gets to the heart of what it means to fall headlong in love with the best possible person – someone who may not be just like you at all.

Review

What an opening paragraph!!! It’s powerful, enigmatic and thought-provoking, all with one question that is posed in Spring 2016.

Lucy and Emma are characters so many women will be able to relate to as they talk about things you only would with a best friend. Lucy is on the look out for a man, encouraged by Emma. Written down, the list of attributes and desires in someone in the male species of humans, is so funny! True and to the point, but full of wit, when it’s actually in written. The atmosphere is jovial to begin with and gets deeper as the book progresses, whilst the writing shows Nick Hornby has observed people very well and all is written so naturally, in a way that these people could be within your own street.

It’s an interesting observational book that takes readers into the world of blind dating and society quirks of schooling and the private and comprehensive systems, that Nick Hornby gets spot-on. 

There’s also a comprehensive look into society when it comes to attitudes of sport and race through the butcher – Joseph and his dad and other events that have happened politically. At the heart of it all however, is a moving and deep romance that also covers a considerable age-gap, which I feel works well is quite refreshing to read about, since this is a book that covers a lot of what is happening in the world and has very nicely also not shied away from this too.

Moving back to the dating. there’s also the conversation within the book that consist of how people view each other about who is dating who, in terms of skin colour and the way words are phrased. It’s a deep story. Somehow, I expected it to be a romance with deep undertones. It’s such an emotional book with plenty of humour. It’s also about how you think a person is very similar to you would be the one, without a doubt, and yet, it doesn’t always work out like that and sometimes complete opposites really do attract and shows very honestly that all is not always simple when it comes to that tug of the heart-strings. It has a solid realistic story of romance, not one that’s so unachievable and yet desireable all the same like in the movies, but romance that isn’t always so perfect and this is what makes it all rather compelling and so likeable and want to get to know more and more about the characters lives.

It’s written well, as there are clearly emotive points being made, but the plot of the story as a whole is rather like an honest observation of society and bravely doesn’t hold back in its astuteness. 

#BookReview by Lou of emotionally, beautiful #newbook – Butterflies By D.E. McCluskey @demccluskey1 @dammagedpro1 #ContemporaryFiction #RomanticFiction

Butterflies
By D.E McCluskey
Rated: 5 stars *****

Life can be beautiful, but also delicate. As delicate as a butterfly’s wings, as Olivia Martelle is about to find out as life shows her that as things take off, there are unexpected twists, in this beautifully, emotionally written book.
Thank you to D.E. McCluskey for the opportunity to review.

See below for the blurb and full review as well as a buy and social media links below.

Butterflies.jpg

Blurb

Olivia Martelle has it all. She’s young and beautiful and has just had her fairy-tail wedding to the man of her dreams, the man who makes the butterflies in her stomach swoop and swirl. Life is looking rosy indeed.

Then, a cruel twist of fate changes everything. Her future looks to be torn away from her. Her husband is incapacitated and every day seems to be a continual battle with her sister-in-law, who she is convinced, hates her.

Her beautiful blue butterflies have turned to black.

A desperate mistake, leads her onto a path that she doesn’t want to tread, and her life begins to spiral out of her control. 

Olivia is about to find out that butterflies don’t beat for everyone…

Review

Sensual, Emotional, Fragile, like the wings of a butterfly.
If you’ve ever thought of taking life for granted, you quite possibly won’t after reading this beautiful, yet heart-wrenching book, where the characters have it all until life changing events happen. One minute, life is all fluttery and beating like an active butterfly, the next, it is just as fragile as those silky wings.

I read the book in a day. It hooks you into the characters lives so easily and the need to know how it ends is a necessity, this is done with aplomb and I am more impressed than I thought I would be. The plot has depth and twists and turns and Olivia, allthough most definitely flawed, is a strong woman.
Butterflies, blue, silky winged butterflies feature throughout and are an intelligent way of representing feelings of nerves and love as the wings flutter, when all is well, turning black when life changes.
The writing all appears to be done with sensitivity and care.

Olivia Britt, a determined, sassy character, who’s wedding day it is in Geneva, experiences the butterflies of love in many different ways. The flutter of the wings of a butterfly is a clever use of describing not just the pre-wedding nerves, but also the lovemaking. This is sensual and passionately written.
Distaster strikes when they are driving along… The lovely, light atmosphere of love and joy changes as Olivia and Paul find themselves in hospital. The way it changes so dramtically comes across well and as strongly as the romantic scenes before. It shows, like a butterflies wings, how fragile life can be, as family, such as Angela – Paul’s sister meet in a hospital as unexpected events start to occur that has an impact and consequences on everyone’s lives.

The colourful butterflies from the beautiful blue before are described as turning black.
I like this as a depiction a lot, how the butterflies are still used, even when life isn’t as it used to be. It’s just as powerful.

Life gets even more complicated when Angela attempts to become more controlling in her agenda to gain everything. I think people will recognise that this can happen within families. People will have to give it a read to see if it is resolved or not.

The emotions around Paul on the wedding night and when he is in hospital are realistic and convey the love and turmoil strongly, including when Richard, Angela’s husband comes more into the scene and life becomes more tangled.

There are beautifully written flashback sequences to the wedding day and how the tender, silky winged butterflies reacted.

I absolutely recommend this book. It’s one you will find yourself needing to find out if the butterflies can ever return and flutter with the rhythms and beats of life ever again.

Links

Buy Link : Amazon

Social Media Link: Facebook Page

Twitter @demccluskey1                        @dammagedpro

#BookReview by Lou of emotionally, beautiful #newbook – Butterflies By D.E. McCluskey @demccluskey1 @dammagedpro ContemporaryFiction

Butterflies
By D.E McCluskey
Rated: 5 stars *****

Life can be beautiful, but also delicate. As delicate as a butterfly’s wings, as Olivia Martelle is about to find out as life shows her that as things take off, there are unexpected twists, in this beautifully, emotionally written book.
Thank you to D.E. McCluskey for the opportunity to review.

See below for the blurb and full review as well as a buy and social media links below.

Butterflies.jpg

Blurb

Olivia Martelle has it all. She’s young and beautiful and has just had her fairy-tail wedding to the man of her dreams, the man who makes the butterflies in her stomach swoop and swirl. Life is looking rosy indeed.

Then, a cruel twist of fate changes everything. Her future looks to be torn away from her. Her husband is incapacitated and every day seems to be a continual battle with her sister-in-law, who she is convinced, hates her.

Her beautiful blue butterflies have turned to black.

A desperate mistake, leads her onto a path that she doesn’t want to tread, and her life begins to spiral out of her control. 

Olivia is about to find out that butterflies don’t beat for everyone…

Review

Sensual, Emotional, Fragile, like the wings of a butterfly.
If you’ve ever thought of taking life for granted, you quite possibly won’t after reading this beautiful, yet heart-wrenching book, where the characters have it all until life changing events happen. One minute, life is all fluttery and beating like an active butterfly, the next, it is just as fragile as those silky wings.

I read the book in a day. It hooks you into the characters lives so easily and the need to know how it ends is a necessity, this is done with aplomb and I am more impressed than I thought I would be. The plot has depth and twists and turns and Olivia, allthough most definitely flawed, is a strong woman.
Butterflies, blue, silky winged butterflies feature throughout and are an intelligent way of representing feelings of nerves and love as the wings flutter, when all is well, turning black when life changes.
The writing all appears to be done with sensitivity and care.

Olivia Britt, a determined, sassy character, who’s wedding day it is in Geneva, experiences the butterflies of love in many different ways. The flutter of the wings of a butterfly is a clever use of describing not just the pre-wedding nerves, but also the lovemaking. This is sensual and passionately written.
Distaster strikes when they are driving along… The lovely, light atmosphere of love and joy changes as Olivia and Paul find themselves in hospital. The way it changes so dramtically comes across well and as strongly as the romantic scenes before. It shows, like a butterflies wings, how fragile life can be, as family, such as Angela – Paul’s sister meet in a hospital as unexpected events start to occur that has an impact and consequences on everyone’s lives.

The colourful butterflies from the beautiful blue before are described as turning black.
I like this as a depiction a lot, how the butterflies are still used, even when life isn’t as it used to be. It’s just as powerful.

Life gets even more complicated when Angela attempts to become more controlling in her agenda to gain everything. I think people will recognise that this can happen within families. People will have to give it a read to see if it is resolved or not.

The emotions around Paul on the wedding night and when he is in hospital are realistic and convey the love and turmoil strongly, including when Richard, Angela’s husband comes more into the scene and life becomes more tangled.

There are beautifully written flashback sequences to the wedding day and how the tender, silky winged butterflies reacted.

I absolutely recommend this book. It’s one you will find yourself needing to find out if the butterflies can ever return and flutter with the rhythms and beats of life ever again.

Links

Buy Link : Amazon

Social Media Link: Facebook Page

Twitter @demccluskey1                        @dammagedpro

#Bookreview by Lou of an enchanting #ChildrensBook – The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson @sophieinspace @Usborne

The Castle of Tangled Magic
by Sophie Anderson
Rated: 5 stars *****

Sophie Anderson, author of The Girl Who Speaks Bear, has another enchanting tale – The Castle of Tangled Magic. It enchants with its richly depicted castle and magical land that provides excellent escapism.

Thanks to Usborne and Sophie Anderson for allowing me to write a review and for providing an e-copy of the book.

Follow further down to the blurb, review and links.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Blurb

Magic awaits, all you have to do is believe…

When thirteen-year-old Olia, steps through a magical doorway, she discovers another land. A land tangled by magic, where hope is lost, and a scheming wizard holds all the power.

Soon Olia learns that she is destined to save this land, but with time running out and her new friends and family in danger, she must search for the magic within herself – to save everything and everyone she loves.

The Castle of Tangled Magic, the new fairy tale from Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Saara Söderlund.

An enchanting fairy-tale adventure about the power of love and courage, from the bestselling author of The House with Chicken Legs and The Girl who Speaks Bear.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Review

Castle Mila, built from wood around 500 years ago near the shore of a lake, sounds like so many children’s dream of a castle with it’s majestic stature and hidden passageways and secrets. The writing is amazingly imaginative, in the way Sophie Anderson has captured the castle and takes readers on a tour around it, up each of the stairs to the different rooms and domes, along with Olia. There is so much to feast the eyes upon and to delight and bring a touch of magic to children’s imaginations. It’s all rather splendid. She is also wanting to find some magic, so seeks out an older member of the family – Babusya, who informs about the mysterious Sun Dome that could have magic, but is locked. The mysteriousness that builds is fascinating and enchanting.

There’s great charm and excitement that captures the heart. The ideas of olde of leaving salt as offerings for spirits, such as domovoi (a spirit, in this case a fox who protects) and of the changes of the wind are explored through Babusya. As other family members appear, there is a lovely family cosyiness element, which is heartwarming, as is the talk of ancestry.

There’s a storm, which seems to make looking for a key even more pressing, a gripping, treacherous adventure ensues and there is a lot at stake – the family and the castle to protect from the ferociousness of the weather.

The story continues onwards with Feliks, the domovoi, into a mystical, rather surreal land – The Land of Forbidden Magic, where there the descriptions add to the surrealism as Koshka, a gorgeous cat, is met and a conversation ensues about the witch Nania and Chenomor’s magic. Another unexpected quest occurs as the land and spirits need to be saved. With lots of danger and many different encounters and riddles to solve, it pulls readers further in deeper as the quest becomes increasingly treacherous and on top of that Castle Mila itself needs saving.
Sophie Anderson creates so much for readers to grasp onto and root for in this pacy adventure, that also has an almighty twist.

Throughout, there are lovely illustrations, depicting the story well. At the end there is also “Olia’s Glossary”, which children will benefit well from, to enhance their understanding of the story as there are some words, that may be unfamiliar.

Links

Website: www.sophieandersonauthor.com

Twitter: @sophieinspace

#Bookreview by Lou – Shakespearean by Robert McCrum – Showing how Shakespeare is relevant for 2020 and beyond @CamillaElworthy @picadorbooks @panmacmillan

Shakespearean
by Robert McCrum
Rated: 5 stars *****

Shakespearean 4

Take a look at William Shakespeare as you’ve perhaps never seen him before. Robert McCrum has done a wonderful job in showing that Shakespeare is as relevant today in 2020 as he ever has been when he first picked up a quill and paper. If you’ve thought Shakespeare is too high-brow or just irrelevant, this is sure to make you think again as what we feel and see going on today, Shakespeare would understand, as shown through all the themes that are still universally acknowledged. This is a book that isn’t academic, it’s beautifully presented to be readable for everyone in a relaxed manner.

Thanks to Camilla Elworthy who invited me to review after seeing a tweet on my view of Shakespeare and how I too see him being relevant still for 2020 and beyond.

Follow through for the blurb and my full review.

Shakespearean 2

Blurb

Why do the collected works of an Elizabethan writer continue to speak to us as if they were written yesterday?

When Robert McCrum began his recovery from a life-changing stroke, described in My Year Off, he discovered that the only words that made sense to him were snatches of Shakespeare. Unable to travel or move as he used to, McCrum found the First Folio became his ‘book of life’, an endless source of inspiration through which he could embark on ‘journeys of the mind’, and see a reflection of our own disrupted times.

An acclaimed writer and journalist, McCrum has spent the last twenty-five years immersed in Shakespeare’s work, on stage and on the page. During this prolonged exploration, Shakespeare’s poetry and plays, so vivid and contemporary, have become his guide and consolation. In Shakespearean he asks: why is it that we always return to Shakespeare, particularly in times of acute crisis and dislocation? What is the key to his hold on our imagination? And why do the collected works of an Elizabethan writer continue to speak to us as if they were written yesterday?

Shakespearean is a rich, brilliant and superbly drawn portrait of an extraordinary artist, one of the greatest writers who ever lived. Through an enthralling narrative, ranging widely in time and space, McCrum seeks to understand Shakespeare within his historical context while also exploring the secrets of literary inspiration, and examining the nature of creativity itself. Witty and insightful, he makes a passionate and deeply personal case that Shakespeare’s words and ideas are not just enduring in their relevance – they are nothing less than the eternal key to our shared humanity.

Shakespearean 3

Review

Anyone with any interest or would like to start developing or has an interest in Shakespeare, this book is the perfect book for you. Even if you’ve thought that Shakespeare is a playwright that isn’t for today and wondering why we should bother with him, this book is perfect for you. This book could have the ability of removing any barriers a person has perceived to have about Shakespeare and to think of him in a whole new light as it captures him and ourselves as we live today in 2020. The book proves that if Shakespeare was an immortal human-being and not just, as he is now – immortal on the page, that he would have a great deal of understanding of what people are living through in 2020 and all the “chapters” and “themes” that run through our lives.

This book shows how relevant to the 21st century, Shakespeare was as he ever has been, ever since he put quill to paper. The themes are universal and the themes of life, love, politics, introspection, death have never changed throughout the centuries and the same goes for emotions. All still exists and appeals to today’s audiences. Robert McCrum expertly explores, through the modern world as well as his plays and sonnets, which are quoted throughout the book, why Shakespeare has become such an icon in Britain and across the world.

Shakespearean is erudite. It’s written in a gentle way, which is accessible to everyone in-terms of the language used. The author has shown exactly how the words from Shakespeare are as relevant today as they ever were by showing them within current situtations and how even the most famous of actors turn to Shakespeare when describing a very current occurance. That’s what makes this book exciting!

The book illustrates well, the timelessness of Shakespeare and tells of the great actors who have clamoured over getting the roles within films and theatres, especially The Globe Theatre. Then there’s also the highly successful TV comedy – Upstart Crow.
So many actors have been touched by Shakespeare’s work, right down to Fleabag’s creator – Pheobe Waller-bridge.

The way everything to do with Shakespeare is related to the modern world is done in a way that is most original. I’ve never seen anything written like this before. Robert McCrum’s passion shines through and this in turn, creates for a book that has a certain something special. It’s not done in a usual historian way. This is more like an informative conversation. It’s so relaxed in the way each chapter is presented. There’s nothing high-brow about the elegance of it all.

The mentioning of Shakespeare and Marlowe and what came after Marlowe’s death in Shakespeare’s work is fascinating!

The book is thought-provoking and the author also creates this in the middle of the book when he delves further into some of the plays, but again in this masterful accessible way, that will undoubtedly inspire some people to see a performance, when previously they thought it may not be for them as he explains Shakespeare’s language of the plays in a non-complex way.

It goes onto being insightful about how Americans view Shakespeare and about how their famous authors have studied his works, and shows the comparison in themes and the way they express them in their writing. It also shows how Shakespeare has influenced their musicals.

All in all, this is a book about Shakespeare I very highly recommend and do believe it could have you seeing his work in a whole different light.

 

My Darling by Amanda Robson – An Enigmatic #PsychologicalThriller @AmandaRAuthor @SabahKhan @PhoebeMorgan @AvonBooks #CrimeFiction

My Darling
By Amanda Robson
Rated: 5 stars *****

The extremities of human behaviour, including a murder is shown in this psychological thriller that will play with you in its enigmatic, twisty way, and keep you guessing right to the end.
I thank Pheobe Morgan and Sabah Khan and everyone at Avon Books for accepting my request to review.

My Darling

Blurb

Thrilling, unputdownable – I was obsessed’ BA ParisThe brand-new domestic thriller from the #1 bestselling author of Obsession

A new couple moves in next door.
And nothing will ever be the same again…

I watched you move in and thought we might be friends.

I saw you watching from the window – and knew I’d have to keep you away from my husband.

I started to trust you. Confide in you.

I started to mistrust you. Suspect you.

I was confused when I blacked out after an evening at your place. Was I really that drunk?

I came up with a plan. A plan to make you both pay . . .

Sexy and sinister – this book will keep you up all night . . .

Review

Taking centre stage with chapters each to themselves are Emma, Jade and Alistair. Each is just a couple pages or so long. It does however, all marry-up together well.

The word “Clusterfuck” that crops up quite a bit in the book is worth a mention as it has an appealing quality. It does have relevance to the book in terms of a character. The dictionary definition is:  a complex and utterly disordered and mismanaged situation : a muddled mess.

Emma is a dentist who is together with Alistair who is a forensic scientist. Jade and Tomas move into a Victorian detached house – Fairlawns near the river in Henley-on-Thames, with what sounds like, the best of everything and seems materialistic and yet fitting for the house, that, from the minute the removal van pulls up and is starting to be emptied, the place will look sublime or a bit like a magazine set-up house. The real beginnings of an atmostphere you wouldn’t expect to find, starts at a dinner party. Looks can be deceptive though as there’s a visit to a psychiatrist’s office and either founded or unfounded insecurities start to emerge.

Heather Brown is Alistair’s ex-wife turns up with an urgency, and things take a more sinister twist. As events occur, the curiosity about just which of the characters are telling the truth about just about everything as it becomes a tale of smoke and mirrors. Lives are twisted. My Darling becomes to have so many connotations within those two words, that aren’t as innocent as they may first appear within memories and the present story, the behaviours presented and a murder.

This is a book that gripped and twisted almost as much as a Rubix Cube and I’m sure will keep many readers guessing to its shock ending.