#Review by Lou of The Cruise By Catherine Cooper @catherinecooper @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #CrimeFiction #TheCruise #BlogTour #HolidayRead #ChristmasRead

The Cruise
By Catherine Cooper

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for Catherine Cooper’s latest mystery thriller – The Cruise, thanks to Random T. Tours and Harper Collins. Join a deadly glamorous trip of a lifetime and follow the passengers to discover the culprit. It’s a great murder mystery as we approach the festive season of Christmas and New Year. Discover the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

A glamorous ship. A mysterious cast of passengers. And a New Year’s Eve party that goes horribly wrong…

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, disappears. The ship is searched and the coastguard is called, but there is no sign of her, either dead or alive.

Lola was popular on the ship but secretive about her background, and as the mystery around her deepens, everyone on board becomes a suspect. Who was she arguing with the night she vanished?

Why did she come aboard the cruise in the first place? What was she running from?

Review

Immanis is is highly glamorous and very large cruise ship captained by Leo. It oozes glamour and the height of sophistication from the start. Just the amount of bars and restaurants are enough to make me gasp! It is a joy to read of such sumptuous surroundings. The cruise ship is so huge, on one hand you’d think it would be hard for someone to go completely missing, with people knowing traveller’s names, and yet on the other hand, so easy as people go about their new year holiday in the Caribbean and because there are so many and it’s so huge. Lola, one of the crew mysteriously goes missing. Superintendent Bailey and Bill are on the case to discover what happened to her, using all the technology they have at their disposal and by conducting the necessary interviews.
There’s also a lot of speculation surrounding her disappearance amongst the crew. It’s also interesting to read about things from the ship’s doctor’s point of view.

The mystery also takes readers to Inverness, a city in the north of Scotland. The book also whisks readers back to 2013, Catford in London. Then the timeline moves again to 2016, a very interesting year and when more of the story comes together, so it’s worth sticking with. It’s intriguing and it intensifies as the story goes on. Between the past and present, it all becomes rather twisty with an unexpected ending.

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#Review By Lou of Suicide Thursday By Will Carver will_carver @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #Thriller #Fiction #SuicideThursday #BookReview #readingcommunity #writingcommunity

Suicide Thursday
By Will Carver

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today, I have a later than planned (due to circumstance the publisher and blog tour organiser are aware about and have been kind) review of  Suicide Thursday; the latest book by Will Carver. It is pitch perfect and dark, with just enough light to show readers another glimpse into society’s darker images, darker thoughts and realities and yet it is incredibly compelling and a page turner… Discover more in the blurb and then my other thoughts about Thursdays and more pertinently, the book in my review. Thanks first to Random T.Tours and Orenda Books for the invite to review. 

If words could kill…
 
Eli Hagin can’t finish anything.
 
He hates his job, but can’t seem to quit. He doesn’t want to
be with his girlfriend, but doesn’t know how end things with
her, either. Eli wants to write a novel, but he’s never taken a
story beyond the first chapter.
 
Eli also has trouble separating reality from fiction.
When his best friend kills himself, Eli is motivated, for the first
time in his life, to finally end something himself, just as Mike
did…
 
Except sessions with his therapist suggest that Eli’s most
recent ‘first chapters’ are not as fictitious as he had intended
… and a series of text messages that Mike received before his
death point to something much, much darker
 

Review

Will Carver is known for dark and twisty plots than show those darker corners of society and this doesn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for something so unique and a page turner with a plot that lingers in your heart, mind and soul afterwards, Will Carver is your man. It is often thrilling to see an invite to review these books and then to see where the plot takes you and if this look into parts of society not really written about like this, can be pulled off again. Turns out the author absolutely has managed to again. First I want to say something about Thursdays in general and then onto the book.

Turns out Thursdays are days I might take to hibernation. They used to be one of the great days of the week, more or less  predictable, but safe. Now, however it don’t seem as wise to step outside as they once were. There are certain crime books and thrillers that now specifically happen on a Thursday and this is one of them. It makes me wonder if I can get all those authors together to persuade my employer I should have every Thursday off and then a Friday as a bonus to celebrate the fact I survived the Thursday…

Now onto the book…

Suicide Thursday hits you deep in the heart and yet compels you to read on. The intermittent text messages are as stark as an arrow going through your body. There is Jackie who is quite religious, then there is Eli, whom she knows cannot finish anything he starts. Readers of the book are privy to see what he begins to write in the book he has began. There’s also Mike who is also very troubled and having a hard time in life.
As a reader and observer to the characters lives, I found myself increasingly pulled in by the interesting dialogue and thought processes of the characters, especially in texts and in a chat room with a person whom is known as fake therapist, that truly stand out and enhance the storytelling. It is poignant and thought provoking. The deeper you go, beyond the superficial and any day to day life, the darker it becomes and the more there is to discover about how Thursdays are and why the book is called Suicide Thursday and without the book being in distinctive parts, life before and after Mike’s death are revealed. It becomes apparent that there is more to be uncovered about what Eli will do, whether he will continue with therapy or not and whether he will finish his book or not and just how will it all end?…

#Review By Lou of Cat Lady By Dawn O’ Porter #CatLady #DawnOPorter @hotpatooties @HarperCollinsUK @LizDawsonPR @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #ContemporaryFiction #Cats #BlogTour

Cat Lady
By Dawn O’Porter

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks to Harper Collins PR Team and Random T Tours for the opportunity to review Cat Lady. How could I resist a book called Cat Lady, having, presently having a wonderful, funny, energetic cat myself and having also grown up with Gemma who lived for 20 years. The cat in the photo below is of my current cat, Millie in still single figure age. The book itself has warmth, strength, friendship, relationships, family, humour and emotion. Find the blurb and my review below.

Blurb

Single – independent – aloof – cunning – agile – cannot tamed

We’ve all known a cat lady – and we’ve probably all judged her too. But behind the label – the one that only sticks to women – what if there’s a story worth nine lives?

Told with Dawn’s trademark warmth, wit and irreverence, Cat Lady is a story about defying labels and forging friendships. It’s for the cat lady in all of us – because a woman always lands on her feet…

Millie, taken by Lou
Millie enjoying Cat Lady. All I did was put it down and she was all over it.

Review

Within the book, wrapped in the cuteness of a cat, there is a great human story too and both together makes this quite different and compelling, perhaps in someways a gentle reminder or instruction to lead your life and see where it ends up, even through all its ups and downs that it throws at you, and, if you have a cat, to treasure every moment with it.

There are 5 parts to Cat Lady – Mother, Career Woman, Animal, Wife, Cat Lady. So far, so intriguing, I thought as I then swiftly went beyond the contents page and into a prologue and then the first chapter. The prologue is a memory of Mia’s 8th birthday, and more memories are revealed and resurface at the beginning of each part from a time before tragedy had struck in her family, shaping, at least in part, her later life. Then moves into the rest of Mia’s day as the first chapter begins, which is at a church, sitting in a circle of 5 people in a support group and what a motley crew they make.

Mia is married to Tristan and in the earlier chapters you can almost see her brain ticking overtime, so eager to please, but over planning with no inch for any go with the flow attitudes in her life. She also has a cat – Pigeon, whom Tristan isn’t a fan of, but readers certainly will be.


Belinda also tries hard to show that she too can be perfect and also constantly tries to outshine Mia in everything, since she was Tristan’s first wife, but totally messed it up in eye-popping, jaw dropping fashion. She’s still in Mia and Tristan’s lives as they have a son, making this complex and compelling to see where it all leads, as does all the paths life takes Belinda in.

Life does have its good and difficult bits. I won’t say what, but it does, in amongst all the debates that occur whether to go down a certain path or not, even though what occurs is incredibly sad and left me a little shocked for a moment, I’m sort of pleased that Dawn O’Porter has had the nerve and had been brave enough to write what she has. When readers get to a certain part in the book, I think they’ll know what I mean.

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#Review By Lou Of -Jump! By JG Nolan @JGNolan3 @sergarcreative #RandomTTours #Football #MiddleGrade #ChildrensBook #Jump

Jump!
By JG Nolan
Illustrated By Carina Roberts

Today I am on the blog tour of Jump! by JG Nolan. A book for 8 to 12 year olds about football and overcoming adversity to do what you’re really passionate about. Discover more in the blurb and my review below.

Review

 Set in Scotland, around Glasgow and Clydebank, and features Cathkin Park quite a bit, football is important to Robbie Blair. He’s a huge Celtic fan and wanted to play football so much and had the talent, but breaks so many bones. He meets Jo, whilst in hospital, who knows a thing or two about football as her husband is also a fan. Heartwarming chat takes place.

Back home, he has a friend in Hamish, who misses him around the pitch and at school. Readers will see Robbie overcome adversity. There is also a school trip to an old people’s home, which gets very interesting and also valuable to readers. It reminds children that the elderly were young once and have so many tales to tell. Robbie is told about Hampden and Patsy Gallacher in 1925. This also renews Robbie’s determination to play football again and fight against the odds of what the doctors told him in the hospital. 

This book is one children who are football fans will find fascinating. The storytelling in short chapters, creating  a fast, exciting pace, like a football being kicked, but also with nuances within the chapters, which also have some illustrations and a photograph at the end. It’s a story against adversity with warmth of friendship and determination. There is much to learn within this story as it takes children back in time in footballing history, that will have them immersed and come out at the end knowing more than they may well had from when they began. In the blurb, there is a powerful, energised quote by Joe Heart, Celtic FC “We can all learn from Robbie Blair.” And perhaps we can, including children.

About the Author And Illustrator

 

.
JG Nolan was born and raised in a sleepy village in Shropshire and loved writing stories and
playing football as a child.
He has been a teacher for many years, working mainly with children who have had difficult
beginnings in life. He strongly believes in positive thinking and feels most things are achievable if
you put your mind to it.
When his football mad son, Robbie, was much younger, he kept breaking bones and was told by
the doctors that he should never play football again. It was during one of his many lengthy stays
visiting Robbie in the local children’s hospital that the idea for ‘Jump!’ drifted into JG Nolan’s
mind.
JG Nolan began to read the exploits of famous, maverick footballers from the past, to inspire his
son and give him hope. Whilst doing this, he became more and more drawn to the tales of
famous Celtic legends from the 1920s, whose names are still chanted in Parkhead to this day. It
soon became clear to him- his first book would have to be set in Scotland.
JG Nolan’s research led him to discover the iconic, ethereal, Cathkin Park.
After meeting Scottish actor Simon Weir, who has helped preserve the park for many years, the
pieces of the jigsaw fell into place and ‘Jump!’ was born.

When JG Nolan’s son started on his long road to recovery and fitness, his determination to
succeed reached the ears of famous local footballer Joe Hart, then at Manchester City. Joe very
kindly sent Robbie some signed goalkeeper gloves to cheer him up during treatment. Robbie
would eventually follow in Joe’s footsteps and attend the same secondary school in their home
town, Shrewsbury. Years later, after Joe had transferred to Celtic, he was thrilled to be asked to
read ‘Jump!’ and offered to write the foreword. A truly serendipitous chain of events!

Carina Roberts is an award-winning artist and illustrator who loves creating characters and telling
stories. Carina spent her childhood drawing, reading and befriending animals – it was in these
first few years that her dream to be an illustrator was born. She’s been running with it ever since!
She specialises in creating books, particularly for young readers – a lot of her inspiration comes
from the wilds of Wales where she lives. She adores fiction and nonfiction alike – after working
on illustrations for the National Trust in 2020 she is especially keen that her work encourages
more people to go on an adventure
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Life & Death Decisions By Dr. Lachlan McIver @lachlan_mciver @Octopus_Books #RandomTTours #Autobiography #Memoir #LifeAndDeathDecisions

Life & Death Decisions
By Dr. Lachlan McIver 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour of non-fiction book – Life and Death Decisions. A fascinating book about delivering medicine and care in challenging climates and topical subjects, including climate change and over-prescribing antibiotics. It also goes into the human toll too. Find out more in the blurb and my review below.

 

Blurb

Lachlan was sixteen when he found his father dead
 
on the side of a dirt road in North Queensland, Australia. He had suffered a sudden heart attack and died alone. It was this
tragedy that motivated Lachlan to train as a doctor specialising in providing medical care
for people living in remote, resource-deprived locations.
 
Lachlan’s work with the World Health Organization and Me´decins Sans Frontie`res has taken him to some of the world’s most extreme environments from the sinking islands of the Pacific to epidemics and war zones in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
In this no-holds-barred memoir, Lachlan recounts his experiences treating patients ravaged by tropical diseases, managing war wounds with drug-resistant infections, delivering babies by the light of a head torch, dealing with the devastating effects of climate change and narrowly avoiding being kidnapped by militia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
 
Tackling such impossible problems day in and day out inevitably takes a personal toll.
Lachlan is ultimately forced to face his own battles with depression, alcohol abuse and bankruptcy.
 
Life and Death Decisions is a deeply human look at the personal cost of our broken global health system and a vital call to action.
 

Review

Many people are fascinated by medical stories and what’s happening globally. The number of books published and tv documentaries show this and here is another book to add to readers list.
 
This book takes readers to Australia and into the life of Dr. Lachlan McIver. It is pretty well paced and starts with an event and a bit of encouragement that perhaps led to him becoming a medical doctor in the first place.
 
It is interesting reading about the life and death decisions he had to make and all the challenges and obstacles that present themselves from illness, people and environment and the places he goes to. It is also interesting reading about the mental and financial tolls taken on his own life and the drive to continue to survive and to continue to heal others.

The book, in fact covers such a wide range of subjects , all that are well-written and gives great insight into the world through medicine and Lachlan’s journey, but is written in “lay-man’s” terms, so anyone can pick up this book and not be flummoxed by it, instead can learn from it.

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

An Indiscreet Princess
By Georgie Blalock

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Blurb

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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