#Review By Lou of Cut and Shut By Jonathan Peace #JonathanPeace @HobeckBooks #CrimeFiction #PoliceProcedural #Thriller #BlogTour

Cut and Shut
By Jonathan Peace

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Cut and Shut is book 3 of the Louise Miller Crime Series, but can also be read as a standalone. It’s been a great and gritty series so far. Discover the blurb and review below. Thanks to Hobeck Books for inviting me onto the blog tour in exchange of an honest review.

Blurb

June, 1989

Tensions are high – tempers short 
Following a stupid, drunken car theft, the tragic deaths of three local lads uncovers a powder keg of racial intolerance and bigotry.

A vicious attack
When two Muslim brothers are violently attacked, WDC Louise Miller sees her hometown with jaded eyes, shocked that so many of her colleagues are reluctant to get involved or help in any way those they once called neighbours.

A terrible truth
As she investigates, Louise, accompanied by WDC Hines and psychologist Karla Hayes, discovers links between the car theft and the assault but worse; the racial tensions that now threaten to tear the community apart, have masked an even darker crime – one that has gone long undiscovered, but will have devastating consequences.

Review

Set in Yorkshire, WDC Louise Miller is a strong character as she stands up for justice whoever the victims and readily. The crime is another deep one to contend with, this time 2 Muslim brothers are violently attacked. The series is set in the 1980’s and Close and Shut is another gritty, twisty book. As the investigation gets underway for a car theft leaving people dead, racial tensions, bigotry and secrets are exposed. It gets darker, still, as there are links between the local garage, a pub landlord and a sinister political party. The book is set in the 1980’s and Jonathan Peace takes readers into the darker side of the decade and certain parts that linger, such as bigotry and racism in certain quarters. 

In the mix, there’s also something more to be revealed about Miller, Hines and Hayes in their personal lives like relationship issues. I like this in police procedurals as it gives characters rounded lives and Jonathan Peace writes it as well as the investigation itself.

It’s a fast-paced read that can be read as part of a series and standalone. It was a book that says this series is certainly well-underway into further growth and feels established and memorable already. 

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#Review By Lou of Someone To Kiss By Jamie Anderson #JamieAnderson @jandersonwrites #GoSocialBooks @rararesources #Romcom #RomanticFiction #BlogTour

Someone To Kiss
By Jamie Anderson 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Someone To Kiss is witty and romantic. If you’re a fan of Beth O’Leary and Jo-Jo Moyes you may enjoy this book. You’ll find the blurb and review below and a bit about the author. Thanks to Rachel Random Resources inviting me on the blog tour.

Blurb

A Hilarious and Heartening Take on the Pitfalls of Modern Dating

As the clock strikes midnight over a disastrous New Year’s Eve and happy couples celebrate all around her, Kate makes a resolution, hastily scrawled on the back of a napkin, that next New Year’s Eve she will have found someone of her own to kiss.

But when you’re a forty-something cat-mom who’d rather binge Netflix than brave the singles scene, finding someone to kiss turns out to be harder than it sounds. Kate is totally unprepared for navigating hook-up apps, speed-dating, and sliding into somebody’s DMs.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, Kate seems further than ever from reaching her goal. As relationships crumble around her and dark long-kept secrets spill out, could Kate’s fixation on her quest cause her to let true love slip through her fingers forever. 

Someone to Kiss is a wry and witty romantic comedy, tackling serious issues with real heart. The perfect new read for fans of Beth O’Leary, Jennier Weiner and JoJo Moyes.

Review

Kate would like to find love, now she has reached the grand era of being in her 40s, working in marketing, where you get the measure of the man she works for quite quickly.

It’s the start of a new year and she is aware that she will never meet a man if she stays home with her cat and binge-watching Netflix in her spare time. Her New Year’s resolution is to enter the singles dating scene. It is a bit Bridget Jones meets Love Actually meets health issues. There is heart and humorous characters to meet in fun storytelling.

With help from a friend to set up a profile on the dating sites. What happens next is a series of dates and this is where the humour is. You can’t help but feel sorry for Kate, but the consequences are funny. She sort of feels societal pressures to find a partner but I feel it is also her desire to as well. There is a guy who cares about her, loves her but is so unspoken that you want to tell him to do something about his feelings, as she dates all these other guys, trying to find the one. This guy, however is also battling mental health issues and struggles a bit. It is good that this highlights male mental health as figures are so high. That’s what made me want to review the book with the hope the rest was good. It’s a different and real slant, this, being quite a big issue is what makes me think of Jo-Jo Moyes books as they also have romance intertwined with health issues.
Kate and her best friend drink excessively, makes you feel a bit sorry for them, but Kate is still a good and fun character to read and has a good attitude on the whole.

Ultimately the book is entertaining and has a good balance. It’s a good one to sit back, relax with a glass of wine and just have fun with.

About the Author

Jamie Anderson is based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. A proud Canadian and Saskatchewanian, she wanted to set her first two novels in the place she was born and raised.

She works in content marketing, has a certificate in professional writing and has done a smattering of freelance writing, character development and copyediting over the past several years.

She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, and has been reading for longer than that. She lives happily with her mountain of books, her TV and her two plants.

#Review By Lou of Murders At The Montgomery Hall Hotel By Gina Kirkham @GinaJeeJay @Bloodhoundbook @LoveBooksGroup #BlogTour

Murders At The Montgomery Hall Hotel
By Gina Kirkham

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A cosy mystery with quirks and entertainment where a murder mystery game has more than anyone bargained for. Thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation and book, in return for an honest review, which you can find below, as well as the blurb.

Blurb

A sleuthing librarian and her friends spend a weekend at a generations-old estate where they discover murder runs in the family . . .

Prunella Pearce, Bree, and the other ladies of the Winterbottom Women’s Institute are planning to visit Montgomery Hall Hotel for the murder-mystery weekend—just as the historic venue’s past comes back to haunt it.

The hotel is now in the incapable hands of Tarragon Montgomery, with its faltering finances overseen by elderly matriarch Cecily.

Meanwhile, the local actress hired to play Psychic Selma for the weekend has been replaced by an impostor. But who is she, and what is her agenda?

Pru and Bree have some experience solving mysteries, but as Montgomery Hall is engulfed by a storm and the bodies start piling up, they may need a little assistance from Pru’s delectable detective, Andy Barnes, in order to crack the case .

Review

The idea of a sleuthing librarian appealed a lot. Librarians, after all, see and know lots, and I should know, having worked and now volunteer lead in a library. There are plenty of secrets for the sleuthing librarian, Prunella (Pru) to uncover at Montgomery Hall, with best friend Bree in tow, A place, it seems, not only perfect to hold a Murder Mystery Game Weekend, but also for a murder to happen for real. It certainly turns the WI activity into something very different from what they were expecting. There is also much humour, that is well written. It’s a mix of dark humour and innuendo humour. You just see the characters having fun.
The mystery itself is interesting as secrets spill out as drinks flow, which makes things in the building that is in desperate need of repair.

Overall, it’s an entertaining read to easily settle down to and, even though this is book 2 in the series, it can also be read, just as well as a standalone.

#Review By Lou of Anne of Green Gables By Anne Of Green Gables on #New #Audiobook #App #readwithaudrey @KnovesStory@mkwiles@lovebookstours

Anne of Green Gables
By LM Montgomery
Audiobook on Listen With Audrey App

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Audiobooks, they’ve been around in various technologies for eons. The Audrey App is actually unique. It offers much more than a read through of the book. What it offers is more immersive than what I’ve ever seen before. It really is worth giving it a go. I have Anne of Green Gables to review as well as the app and my experience of listening to it as part of a Love Books Group blog tour.  You’ll also find links below, if you’re interested, since it is so new. Please note that I am not affiliated to anything here.

Blurb

Possibly the most delightful book ever written, Anne of Green Gables takes us to a time and place that seems simpler than the one we find ourselves in today – Prince Edward Island off the east coast of Canada in the late 19th century. We accompany Anne, a young orphan girl, through her early teenage years, and we challenge you not to fall in love with her and the world – full of natural beauty, gratitude and wonder – that she inhabits. Narrated by Mary Kate Wiles and a whole cast of actors, illustrated by another Anne mega fan, Weronika Marianna, and guided for Audrey by L.M. Montgomery scholar May Toudic. May’s guide offers historical context, insights into the author’s life, thought-provoking questions, a collection of reviews, a Spotify playlist and much more.

Review

I’ve listened to audiobooks off and on, ever since I was a child and they were more known as stories on cassette, and then apps, which was a lovely experience and this app certainly also is a lovely experience. It immerses its listener right into her life. Anne arrives at Matthew Cuthbert and Marella’s house, full of opinions, mischief, imagination, positivity and chat. They expected a boy to arrive, but soon they take Anne into their hearts and listeners can see her grow and develop into a unique and fine young lady. It has humour and sadness and is ultimately a wonderful story. The app adds to this further. It feels theatrical, a bit like if you’re listening to a high quality dramatised play on the radio, with all the sound effects, right down to a knock on the door. The app in itself adds a unique experience, the likes I have not seen before in an audiobook app, it has reminders of who characters are and how they are related to each other, as an option you can click on. It also provides a bit of an education in a way that it adds context to the story by including background to the times it is set in. It manages to do this in a way that is not disruptive to the story itself, through different options in icons to press, if you so choose. There are illustrations and photographs, which are beautiful (more so than the cover, so putting the cover aside, the rest of what it has to offer in terms of illustration is better, so don’t let that put you off). You will be able to see what the house would be like as well as the fashions of the day. It feels like the app is more than just making a story accessible, that you read and don’t think about what was happening at the times of it being written or at the times it was set in, what the author may have witnessed or lived through. This provides that richness and in a way, shows that historical knowledge and the need to look at the past is important and that everything has a context of its time, which matters. Books don’t just float into thin air, there’s always some sort of context, prompting a story. This app encompasses it all.

You can see your progress for each chapter, which is nice, but unfortunately not for the entire book, but apps, as they are, do progress from whence they began as creators develops, so perhaps this may be a future update. This, as a starting point is very good and very useable. It’ll be interesting to see how it is developed further.

Note from The Audrey App Team

We have developed the Audrey app, where we curate classic and contemporary audiobooks and pair them with a guide, who helps the listener engage with the book in a more meaningful way. The guide provides insights, context, information about the author, photos of the real places in the book, thought-provoking questions, a playlist and more. We also commission bespoke illustrations, and each book comes with chapter recaps and character descriptions to help readers who may get easily distracted.

Links

Android link –https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.audrey.audrey

Apple link – https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/audrey-guided-audiobooks/id1589424638

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#Article #Interview #Reviews By Lou -Celebrating the Work of Matson Taylor @matson_taylor_ @ScribnerUK @simonschusterUK #TheMiseducationOfEvieEpworth #AllAboutEvie

As part of my blog in 2023 until it reaches 5 years old in September, I will be celebrating an author or publisher every so often. I am beginning with Matson Taylor, a design historian and author with lots of wit and poignancy in his writing. He is also someone I’ve had the joy of doing Zoom with and interviewing. I have included links to previous reviews and an interview at the end of each section.

Matson Taylor burst onto the writing scene with his humorous, contemporary fiction book – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth to much praise, so much so that this debut novel had made it to the BBC Radio Book Club. His books caused quite a stir as they landed on bookshelves. He then followed up with All About Evie, again with more high praise, no mean feat I should think when authors often say that writing a second book is one of the hardest and you can only hope the first lot of readers stay with you and also builds too.
The books, set between parts of Yorkshire, London and parts of Scotland are brilliantly humorous and then catch you with poignancy as you lean about her teenage and adult life. All is well-researched and observed and fit into the eras well. So many people would be able to relate to the universal themes and to the fashions and music at the time, whether they lived through the eras or not and if not, there’s certainly plenty that people can learn from that may pique interest within the entertaining story-telling.

The Books and Interview


The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is set in 1962 and you first join her at 16 1/2. She has her music, literary and actor idols and she’s growing fast with philosophical musings about future jobs. She is also  learning lots from Mrs Pym; which is where the poignancy comes in. 
You can find out more about the book in my review, which also includes a blurb in the link: The Miseducation of Evie Epworth Review

 


All About Evie is about how her life is as an adult in 1972. The setting is between London, various parts of Yorkshire and Scotland. She had a job in London working for the BBC, which turns out disastrous, meaning she needs a different direction in life and even her love-life is poor. The situations she finds herself in brings much humour. Again, there’s poignancy with family matters.
You can find out more about the book in my review, which also includes a blurb in the link: All About Evie


The style and layout of writing is interesting in both books as the poignancy is written within what he calls Interludes. The humour is quick-witted and all of it is highly engaging with universal themes. Matson Taylor is a design historian and his passion comes across well as does his knowledge in the eras of which he writes. He also likes his writing to bring many emotions from happy to sad these two books do it with a plomb. He once said the Evie Epworth books will become a trilogy. You may need to wait because he’s another wonderful sounding book he is writing ahead of that. I once did an interview with Matson Taylor, Find out what he has to say about his books, his future plans in his writing career and how his career as a design historian aids his writing and much more in the link: Interview With Matson Taylor

#Review By Lou of Promise Me By Jill Mansell @JillMansell @Emily_JP @headlinepg @HeadlineFiction #ContemporaryFiction #readingcommunity #booktwt

Promise Me
By Jill Mansell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Promise Me by Jill Mansell is delightful and so engaging it is hard to put down as it pulled you immediately into the village of Foxwell. I was delighted to win this book in a competition ran by Headline Books. I entered having enjoyed previous books by Jill Mansell, long before I even began my blog. Find out what I thought of this one below and also discover the blurb below.

Blurb

One minute Lou is happily employed, with a perfect flat. The next, her home and job have gone. Suddenly she has to start over.

The last thing Lou wants is to move to a tiny Cotswolds village. She certainly doesn’t intend to work for curmudgeonly eighty-year-old Edgar Allsopp. But Edgar is about to make her the kind of promise nobody could ignore. In return, she secretly vows to help him fall in love with life again.

Foxwell is also home to Remy, whose charm and charisma are proving hard to ignore. But Lou hasn’t recovered from the last time she fell for a charmer. She needs a distraction – and luckily one’s about to turn up.

Secrets never stay hidden for long in Foxwell, nor are promises always kept. And no one could guess what lies ahead…

Review

With a main character called Lou, how could I possibly resist? That and Jill Mansell’s sublime writing, this is a book to slink back in a chair and take time to enjoy what is an engaging story.

Jill Mansell is one of the masters of having a main character and then also writing all sorts of characters, just as strongly, round about them, to create a whole community of all different ages in a charming setting and she’s done it again in Promise Me. She will also make you feel many emotions and has a knack of having you care one way or another about each character and be entranced by the words on the page, that suddenly sail by, as does time and before you know it, you’ve reached the end, and what a great ending it is.

There is a map of Foxwell and it looks ready to jump right in and begin a new life there, which is what Lou does. She feels she needs to move onwards with her life and for her, that means moving to a small, seemingly idyllic village in the Cotswolds. It totally has small village vibes, when you look beyond the perfect setting. It consists of people knowing each other and there being secrets that never are that for long and people breaking promises. Edgar is different and he makes a promise of a lifetime for her and vows to keep to it.

Edgar, an octogenarian curmudgeon is perfectly written, I’m sure everyone has or will come across a curmudgeon at some point. Lou ends up, unplanned, working for him and he seems a guy whose curmudgeoness is in every ounce of his body, heart and soul and is evident in absolutely everything, but then he has had some disappointments in his life. The pairing between him and Lou is great! Readers will see how she opens up his world too, which is heartwarming.

 There are also subplots pulled in as you get to know other people if Foxwell, such as Jess, who has an uncle who owns the antique shop and a dog called Captain Oates. There’s Sammy who’s perhaps going to be a music sensation and more… There’s also a single guy in town. Could there be someone perfect for Lou?
You get to see all the different relationships develop as well as the various buildings within the village and the food in the restaurant sounds delicious!

This is  a book I terrific book, which highly recommend. It’s a Must Read for a heartwarming story with life about it.