#BookReview By Lou of Murder In An Irish Bookshop @canelo_co @CaneloCrime @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours #CrimeFiction #CozyCrime #CosyCrime

Murder In An Irish Bookshop
By Carlene O’Connor

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour and closing it for cosy mystery – Murder In An Irish Bookshop, a book that takes murder mystery readers to a fictional community where the Garda are kept busy in a small village community.
Thanks to publishers – Canelo for providing a book and thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me to the blog tour. Discover more about the book below in the blurb and thoughts about it in my review below…

Murder In An Irish Bookshop cover

Blurb

Canelo Cover Image spec with Guides

Join a bestselling author and travel to County Cork in Ireland to solve a bookish mystery full of twists in a cozy whodunit perfect for fans of  Sheila Connolly, Kate Carlisle, and Laura Childs!

Between training the new town garda and trying to set a wedding date with her fiancé, Macdara Flannery, Siobhán O’Sullivan is feeling a bit overwhelmed. She’s looking forward to visiting the new bookshop and curling up with an exciting novel—only to discover the shelves contain nothing but Literature with a capital L. The owner not only refuses to stock romances, mysteries, and science fiction, but won’t even let customers enter his store unless they can quote James Joyce or Sean Hennessey.  
 
Despite the owner deliberately limiting his clientele, he’s hosting a reading and autographing event featuring up and coming Irish writers who will be taking up residency in Kilbane for a month. Among them is indie author Deirdre Walsh, who spends more time complaining about the unfairness of the publishing industry and megastar bestsellers instead of her own creative works, causing a heated debate among the writers. She seems to have a particular distaste for the novels of Nessa Lamb.
 
Then Deirdre’s body is found the next day in the back of the store—with pages torn from Nessa’s books stuffed in her mouth. Now, Siobhán must uncover which of Kilbane’s literary guests took Deirdre’s criticisms so personally they’d engage in foul play . . .

Review

A murder in a bookshop!!! Who’d have thought it….
Murder in an Irish Bookshop is set in a small village in County Cork and has some Irish flare to it. There’s a new bookshop all set for its grand opening day event, but it doesn’t go to plan from the start and people have to be turned away, due to a murder having been committed. It then lies with the Garda to unpick the lies, secrets and red-herrings to work out who and why a murder happened and why on that particular day.

Siobhán O’Sullivan is engaged to Detective Sergeant Macdara Flannery and there’s new trainee Aretta Dabiri. The relationships and dynamics between each other and their families provide another thread and it’s okay not to have read the previous books yet as the author ensures readers are all nicely caught up enough and it’s not too challenging to follow, and the murder mystery itself is a new one. At certain points the mystery does really slow down, but thankfully doesn’t quite stall and also then picks up again to grab interest all over again.

This definitely sits well in the cosy murder category as readers get to snoop round the village and its community of residents and their quirks and charm. It is, despite a murder occurring, warm and heartfelt, especially within the families, plus there is some humour within it.

#BookReview By Lou of The Family Man By Kimberley Chambers @kimbochambers @HarperCollinsUK #RandomTTours #GangsterCrime #CrimeFiction #GangsterFiction

The Family Man
By Kimberley Chambers

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Family Man Graphic 4

Spectacular and mightily gritty with a fast pace. This is slick gangster crime with edge, at its best!
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review and to Harper Collins for providing an exquisite Limited Gold Edition of the book. Follow down to find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below…

The Family Man Graphic 1

Blurb

A brand-new series from the queen of gritty crime

A fascinating interviewee and a brilliant raconteur, Kimberley has appeared on BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live, Loose Ends and Front Row, BBC Radio 2 Graham Norton and the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio…

The Family Man Graphic 2MEET THE BONDS…
Kenny Bond is finally out of prison after doing a long stretch for killing a copper, and is determined to get back to life on the straight and narrow. He’s got a lot of time to make up for, he’s missed his beloved wife, Sharon, and his family is growing up fast.
A FAMILY LIKE NO OTHER…
Kenny’s son Donny might lack his father’s edge but his twin grandsons, Beau and Brett – well, they are Bonds through and through. Like him, they won’t let anyone stand in their way.
BUT THEY’RE ABOUT TO MEET THEIR MATCH…
Family comes before everything else for Kenny. There’s nothing he won’t do for them. But there are enemies from his past he can’t shake off, and a family feud is brewing. Kenny’s determined that nothing, and no one, will threaten his family. But can the Bond family stick together when someone’s out to take them down?

Family Man Graphic 3 (1)

Review

The Family Man is fast-paced and enthralling. It’s full of grit and pulls readers into the authenticity of the underground of a gangland family.

The Family Man tells the story of The Bond family throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. For a gangster family you really get the sense of those family bonds and the whole juxtopositions that is especially embodied in Kenny, who is a gangster and murderer, yet really cares about his family. Don’t be mistaken, there is nothing that is cosy and warm as such. This book feels authentic in language and situations used. It has bags of intense grit that builds from Wormwood Scrubs and throughout the book.

The bonds between the family are put to the test and there’s someone after them… It puts into question how far someone will go to protect their family, even in the gangland world.

It’s interesting reading how Sharon, a devoted wife to Kenny Bond, really feels about things as she has spent so much time standing by her man, even though he was banged up in prison. The relationships in this family and strong feelings really come through in this, at times, visceral book.

There, even in such an underground of life, is emotion in many ways, felt by the characters, simmering away, but all the while, in the forefront is that knowledge they are gangsters. The family feud that brews and betrayal, adds another level of intensity and grit.

About the Author

Kimberley Chambers Author PIcA truly unforgettable character, Kimberley injects authenticity into her gritty gangland crime novels set around the east end. She came to writing later in life, having worked as a street trader (being promoted from tea girl to sales when she rugby-tackled a shoplifter), a DJ and a cabbie.
Fed up of scraping a living, she set her mind to writing a novel, despite being laughed at by friends and family, who dubbed her ‘a female Del-Boy’. But with her creative mind, colourful life experiences and memorable covering letter (‘Take a chance on me, you won’t regret it. This time next year I’ll be wearing Prada, not Primark’), she quickly had five agents knocking at her door and a publishing contract. Fifteen novels and three Sunday Times number ones later, she’s top of her game and an incredible inspiration.
Join Kimberley’s legion of legendary fans facebook.com/kimberleychambersofficial on and
@kimbochambers on Twitter.

The Family Man BT Poster

 

#BookReview by Lou of A Beautiful Spy By Rachel Hore @Rachelhore @simonschusterUK @rararesources #SpyFiction #CrimeFiction #HistoricalFiction

A Beautiful Spy
By Rachel Hore

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It gives me pleasure to announce that I am closing the blog tour for A Beautiful Spy By Rachel Hore. It shows the perilous and dark corners of the world in a mysterious and intense fashion. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing a print copy of the book and for Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to the blog tour. Find out more about the author and her book, as well as the rest of my thoughts in the review…

A Beautiful Spy

About the Author

Rachel Hore author photoRachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she taught publishing and creative writing at the University of East Anglia until deciding to become a full-time writer. She is the Sunday Times (London) bestselling author of ten novels, including The Love Child. She is married to the writer D.J. Taylor and they have three sons. 

Blurb

A Beautiful SpyMinnie Gray is an ordinary young woman. She is also a spy for the British government.

It all began in the summer of 1928…

Minnie is supposed to find a nice man, get married and have children. The problem is it doesn’t appeal to her at all. She is working as a secretary, but longs to make a difference.

Then, one day, she gets her chance. She is recruited by the British government as a spy. Under strict instructions not to tell anyone, not even her family, she moves to London and begins her mission – to infiltrate the Communist movement.

Review

Minnie Gray is the main protagonist, with the book predominantely sweeping through the 1930’s, but also hitting on more modern times every so often. In 1928, Minnie wants more for her life and she certainly isn’t into meeting the Chamberlains, even though they were increasingly making their mark in the House of Commons. Life moves swiftly on from that time and readers learn about Minnie and her upbringing. What she hadn’t initially realised was that her connections then were to change the course of her life. Through her connections, she certainly becomes far removed from being a dutiful and stay at home wife. She has the opportunity to be a government spy, with the remit to spy on Communist Russia and to delve deeper into UK supporters of the regime.

There’s a bit of glamour that’s in the backdrop of a deeper, darker world and has her eyes opened wide to what the propaganda really means and where meetings take place in places where no one would normally suspect anything untoward could possibly happen.

The book shows how dangerous some politics are, especially by those with no alliegence to a country. It also sets out how people are taken in by clever propaganda. There are comparison’s that can be made into the book that can be made today and not only just with Russia, but with anywhere that has a more nationalist party. Although the book is set in the past and is about the dark, dangerous, yet exciting world for a fictional protagonist, there are some lines here and there that can be linked to certain aspects of today’s world and also the world of so-called unlikely leaders being voted into power. The book doesn’t delve too much into the roads of Communism, as Communism, as readers will know, doesn’t start there, there are other books that demonstrate this, this shows more when Communism has already got its grip.

The book is a slow suspense, but none-the-less gripping, especially for those readers who find the life of a spy and keeping identities hidden, fascinating. This book is a bit different from some spy fiction in that it doesn’t totally glamourise it and can show what an anxiety inducing life it can be and how challenging it can be, and yet change a person a bit, as demonstrated in the tastes of books Minnie used to like, compared to her tastes since becoming a spy as her worldly view has changed. The book isn’t all blazing guns and gadgets either. There is however, intelligence and a life of characters that seems plausible, and there is the wrangling of Minnie and a glimmer of desire to be set free by MI5 to lead a life outside spying, but she has proven herself well and to be valuable and stays, but things get ever more dangerous…. until a point when, finally, readers will be able to breath again, as can the woman, who led a double life.

Time moves forwards to the 1940’s and Minnie’s life has changed again, as does the pace and tone, but some histories in life can’t totally be erased and nor can the residue, certain parts of life leave behind…

This is, overall, a fascinating and intense book that leaves you wondering what next for this “Beautiful Spy”, at each turn…

Social Media Links

Visit her at RachelHore.co.uk and connect with her on Twitter @RachelHore.

 

#BookReview by Lou of False Truth – A Joe Wilde Investigation by C.D. Steele #CDSteele @BookGuild #CrimeFiction #PrivateInvestigatorFiction

False Truth
By C.D. Steele

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

False Truth is a book full of mystery and just when you suspect what happened, something else does, creating the most unexpected twists that grip in a sensational story.

Thanks to C.D. Steele for contacting me to review and gifting me his book – False Truth.

False Truth

Blurb

Private Investigator and former MI6 agent Joe Wilde is hired by Sally Devlin to investigate her son’s disappearance. Liam Devlin was a rising football star. His car was found abandoned at Lea Bridge in Hackney, a known suicide spot, six weeks prior. With help from friend and retired MI6 Data Technician Mark Thompson, Joe uncovers a huge secret in Liam’s life. Putting the pieces together, he starts to suspect that this case is far more complex than he originally envisioned. Falling ever deeper into his own investigations, Joe meets with the detective in charge of the case, D. I. Carl Whatmore, who does not take kindly to Joe getting involved. As Joe and D. I. Whatmore go head-to-head in their own investigations, more lives are put in danger. But who will crack the case? Only time will tell…

Review

Joe Wilde is a Private Investigator who is a former MI6 agent, which makes him intriguing from the outset. He has other friends from MI6 who help him in cases. This time, a meaty case turns up, one that isn’t trying to find out whether a lover is cheating on their partner or not. Sally Devlin hires him because her son, Liam, considered a rising star in football has disappeared, all they’ve got is his car that turns up at Lea Bridge.

There’s also a political element to the book as Joe’s friend Phil Harkes works for MI5 in counter-terrorism, after much time in MI6 and had been working on a case where an MP was murdered.

Working relationships are often interesting to read about and there are certainly differences between Joe Wilde and Detective Inspector Carl Whatmore, who’s path he has to cross as he wonders what he wants with the Liam case.

Readers really get a sense of walking in the shoes of a P.I. as he knocks door to door (readers certainly won’t forget Joe Wilde’s name with the number of times he has to introduce himself. At first I thought this was exessive, until I thought about it and it actually gives a real sense of realism), to try and find people who knew something and to piece bits of info together. It’s worth staying with…

The case gets more intriguing the more the leads build and even takes Joe to Paraguay, where the mystery to his disappearance continues and the intrigue notches up as there appears there may be more than meets the eye. Then the mystery racks a further notch and the twists and turns that come, become tight and the pace quickens.

#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.

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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.

#ChildrensBook #Review by Lou The Primrose Railway Children By Jacqueline Wilson #JacquelineWilson @FansofJWilson @OfficialJWMag @RHKidsUK #ChildrensBook #ClassicsAdaptation #MiddleGrade

Today I have a review of The Primrose Railway Children by bestselling and hugely popular children’s author  – Jacqueline Wilson. Her books have included series such as Tracy Beaker, Hetty Feather and many more, tackling many subjects in the present and past. Now she is also tackling children’s classics. So, this is her revamped, modern take of E-Nesbitt’s The Railway Children.
I’ve talked many times about Jacqueline Wilson and her books to children, so it is an honour to actually be able to review one.
Discover more in the blurb and my thoughts about it in my review below.
Firstly, my thanks goes to the publisher – Penguin Random House Children’s UK for gifting me a copy of the book to review.

The Primrose Railway Children

Blurb

An unbelievable talent’ – David Walliams

From multi-million bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson and inspired by E. Nesbit’s timeless classic, The Primrose Railway Children is a gorgeous, heartwarming story of family secrets and new adventures.

Sit back and enjoy the journey!

Phoebe Robinson loves making up stories – just like her wonderful, imaginative Dad.

When he mysteriously disappears, Phoebe, Perry, Becks and their mum must leave everything behind and move to a small cottage in the middle of nowhere.

Struggling to feel at home and missing her Dad terribly, Phoebe’s only distraction is her guinea pig Daisy. Until the family discover the thrilling steam trains at the railway station and suddenly, every day is filled with adventure.

But Phoebe still can’t help wondering, what is Mum hiding and more worryingly is Dad okay?

Review

The Primrose Railway ChildrenJacqueline Wilson has been inspired by E. Nesbitt before with her retelling of the story Four Children and It, which she called 4 Children and It. This time she has been inspired by The Railway Children by her. My hope is that children reading these, will be also inspired to go to the original versions too and see the similarities and the differences and appreciate both authors and their talents. Let’s face it, Jacqueline Wilson is enormously talented and I honestly was amazed to be given the priveledge of reviewing her book. Not only am I a fan of The Railway Children, but I also totally appreciate in wonderment what Jacqueline Wilson brings to children literature. The big question is, however, is this re-inspired story actually any good and will it hit the mark?

The timing of this book is quite perfect, just ahead of a sequel to the film of The Railway Children. I myself love trains and adventure and The Primrose Railway Children is sure to spark this in those middle-grade readers who devour Jacqueline Wilson’s books with their eyes and imaginations.

The Primrose Railway Children is made up of Phoebe, Amelie, Perry and Becks and then there’s their mum and dad. It’s written in a way that brings everything bang up to date. This, a bit like the original, isn’t a sugary sweet book, but there are cute animals. There is still upheaval, financial difficulties, technology issues and family secrets, which brings depth and intrigue. There’s some great humour within the story, so it isn’t too heavy, although there are some weighty themes, but they, as ever with a book by Jacqueline Wilson, are treated well and with children in mind.

The book mixes the past and present in a way that may well feed children’s curiosity as the book mentions the Edwardians and steam trains that would have run then on lines like The Primrose Railway, which is gently encouraged through the characters in the book having a desire to find out more. There’s something respectful about this and also makes it sound okay for children to do this. The book also mentions other classic books too in a way that is so clever and again gently encouraging the next generation to read these too, especially with all whilst putting her own spin on things and creating a pleasurable story, that is also well illustrated, but not overly so.

With dad mysteriously gone, the void this leaves can be sorely felt through the family, but none more so than Phoebe. The intensity of the bond between her and her dad can be keenly felt. There’s the whole worry that he may be dead, but they don’t really know if he is dead or alive and readers see the children process this between their humour and their seriousness in conversations and behaviours.

There’s adventure around the trains, the train station and make a new friend in the station master, which is delightfully written, with so much to discover about The Primrose Railway. It’s also a story that talks about differences between urban and rural life, differences in families as a whole and growing up.

This is overall a book many children will find engrossing and is relatable, and also as respectfully done as it possibly could be as she also puts her own slant on the family she creates and their different characterisations and the reasoning for their dad to be away and all ends in quite a twist.

There are some nods to E. Nesbitt’s original story – The Railway Children and so beautifully done, Jacqueline Wilson has acknowledged her and written a bit at the back of the book about her and her stories and I like that she also encourages children to read them too.

Jacqueline Wilson has written a number of books now, that have revamped the children’s classics and hopefully children will like hers as well as then discovering the original authors and reading what they wrote too. The two combined would now be pretty powerful and children could gain a lot from reading both versions, and perhaps discover the joy of reading and trains too.