#Review by Lou of -The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent @lizziedent @EllieeHud @VikingBooksUK #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview

The Summer Job
By Lizzie Dent
Rated: 5 Stars *****

The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent is a joy for anyone’s spring/summer book collection. It’s moving, funny, great scenery and food. It’s such good entertainment and fun which is so uplifting. It’s a great plot for a relaxed weekend or evening. It’s one to watch out for this spring!
Thank you so much to  Ellie Hudson at Viking Books for gifting me a copy of this joyous book and for inviting me to this very exciting blog tour.
Find out more in my blurb and the full review. Check out the unique cover too, which is also fun…

The Summer Job

Blurb

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)

The Summer Job is a fresh, fun, feel-good romcom for fans of The Flatshare, Bridget Jones and Bridesmaids.

WANT TO ESCAPE REAL LIFE FOR A WHILE? RUN AWAY WITH BIRDY FINCH, A MESSY HEROINE WITH A HEART OF GOLD. THE SUMMER JOB IS THE HOTTEST DEBUT TO LOSE YOURSELF IN THIS YEAR.

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

Review

The Summer JobThe Summer Job is such a glorious book. I was thoroughly entertained and the food and wine all sounds absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious, set in Scotland amongst the pretty scenery, especially around the loch. It is such fun and really lifts the spirit. 
Birdy Finch is such a unique character, who isn’t perfect and she hasn’t worked out all of life yet, but she has heart, which makes her so brilliant to read about. The premise of running away from your life is written in such a way that you can’t help but want to join her. The humour in this book is devine and provides a great time for escapism as Birdie Finch, in her early 30’s escapes London to a lovely hotel in Scotland and ends up pretending to be a sommelier, with funny consequences as she pretends to be Heather, her best friend, who is the expert in this area, but wanted to spend time travelling with her boyfriend. It’s a great plot to easily slip into for a relaxed weekend or evening.

Lizzie Dent has produced a character who is so readable and feels authentic in such a delightful, feel-good rom-com. The sort that would be great, translated onto screen as well.
She has insecurities and feelings of being self-conscious that come flooding in here and there and that makes her seem so real and so many people will be able to relate on some level, but also has spirit in character and humour in the situations she finds herself in.
She is a bit like a contemporary of Bridget Jones in some ways and is very engaging and a great debut!
Lizzie Dent is an exciting author to watch!

The Summer Job Blog tour 1

The Summer Job Blog tour 2

Giveth and Taketh by Rota @TheMCRota @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Giveth and Taketh
by Rota

Later than I had planned, so apologies for those waiting. I have been delayed a little due to a family circumstance, that unusually distracted me. All is better than it was today. I have an evocative Cover Reveal for you today. Check out this cover art and what the book is all about. I must say, it sounds very interesting and topical. There is a link as to where and how to purchase at the bottom too.

Giveth Taketh cover

 

Blurb

Was Donald Trump able to become President because God abandoned us? Are Jews white? Does Hell have better weather than Heaven? 

In Giveth and Taketh, Rota addresses all of these questions, discussing his own experience and political theology as a Jewish person in the Trump-era while also exploring broader issues of race, mental health and grief.

Giveth and Taketh - Full

About the Author

Rota is a poet and public interest lawyer living in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

His work has been featured by Button Poetry, Entropy!, FreezeRay Poetry, Alternating Current (February 2020), Jet Fuel Review, and elsewhere. He is a proud member of the MMPR collective and the Assistant Executive Editor of Knights’ Library Magazine.

By day, he supervises law students who provide free legal services to veterans. You can’t miss him. He’s the tallest Jew for miles.

Twitter handle: @TheMCRota

Buy Link 

http://www.wildpressedbooks.com/giveth-and-taketh.html

Review of Hands Up by Stephen Clark @StephCWrites @widopublishing #crimefiction #mystery #fiction #BlackLivesMatter #BlueLivesMatter #journalist #Review

Hands Up
by Stephen Clark
Rated 5 stars *****

About the Author

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the D.C. bureau of FoxNews.com.

As a reporter for the Utica Observer-Dispatch, he won a New York Newspaper Publishers Association Award of Distinguished Community Service for his investigation into the financial struggles of non-profit service. He also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for Investigative Reporting at the Stamford Advocate.

Stephen is also the author of critically acclaimed Citizen Kill, which explores the dangers of Islamophobia through a government conspiracy to end the domestic war on terror…

Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Arcadia University and a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

Hands up cover

Blurb

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighbourhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story that the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness whilst mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade and Kelly – three people from different worlds – are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

Hands up cover

Review

I was excited to be contact via my blog by Stephen Clark to review his book. He kindly sent me a physical copy from the USA (I am based in the UK) and told me a little about his book. This piqued my interest because it is about issues that are still being talked about and happening now. With him being a journalist (and award-winning), I figured he would really know what he was talking about. I am honoured that after coming across my blog that he has chosen me to review for him. This has not in any way swayed my opinion of his book. My review is not biased.

From the first few lines of readers know what has happened. This book focuses on the aftermath of a shooting. I like that. It really works for this book as instantly Officer Ryan Quinn is met and clearly not only trying to convince himself he is not a murderer, but also the tone and the doubting himself is so convincing and brings a bit of humanity to him and instant intrigue as to what really went on, on the fatal day he shot an unarmed black man, but felt his life was in enough jeopardy at the time. I like that it isn’t quite a simple as that. There are complexities to this story that has a black man shot in traffic. It gives a realism to the story.

The book alternates its chapters to bring each character into the story. This really works. The first is Ryan, who then gets interviewed about the incident. The second introduces Jade who has just broken up with her boyfriend and works in Mac’s Tavern and comes across the police and shot man. There is Kelly, who readers meet a little later, who hopes to reunite with his family. It’s well laid out and instantly readers can get a feel for the main characters and the story. It soon becomes clear how all their own lives are interconnected.

Officer Ryan’s world is turned upside down. He was supposed to be planning his wedding to Kaylee, his career was being fast-tracked and now things were not looking so rosy for his present or future.

The contrast between Ryan Quinn, Jade and Kelly is brilliantly done as there is the story from the officer’s point of view, but also his life out of work and then there is the story from Jade’s point of view – the one that even in the UK, we are becoming accustomed to seeing on the news with what happens in the US with the press being around wanting to know what happened and people wanting justice for the person who was shot. Then there’s Kelly’s who shows the scene, again one that we all see on our tv screens of what has now become sadly becoming known as “the usual reaction” and similar, with the prayer vigils, teddy’s, flowers, candles.

The book continues with a shooting of the cop’s house and depicts, what sadly seems to be the cycle of revenge by violence, that is just as sad as the death of Tyrell.

The chapters with Officer Ryan in therapy are also very poignant and adds depth to his character.

Part Two of the book takes the story to the aftermath of the trial of Ryan Quinn. The format is the same as part 1 and there is still the emotion, but the story takes the characters even further and there are some unexpected turns of events and I was still hooked, as I am sure others will be too. This second and final part is as well written and as well-paced as the first part. The twists and turns keeps it all going very well and it has a good, well-written ending.

The book gives a great insight into the aftermath of American life when a shooting happens and the lives of people. There is a depth throughout this book, with issues people face, lives being complicated. There is emotion and characters to care about. This story is one that I feel anyone reading it will want to read to the end to see how it all concludes. I certainly did. It is an absorbing book and one that I didn’t want to put down.

Whether readers are American or not, this is an important and thought-provoking story that Stephen Clark is telling. I really get the sense that he is telling it like it is. News like this is sometimes international, so no matter where you live in the world, there will be recognisable parts. There will be some parts of the story that are just part and parcel of the character’s day-to-day lives may also be relatable to people, wherever they live. The book, although fiction, fits in well with current affairs from all the different angles.

The book would be great for everyone to read and would be one that would be very good for a book group too as it would really spark conversation about the subject matter raised within this book (so long as it didn’t get too heated of course as civil conversations are always best).

Links:

Click here for Stephen Clark’s Website

Click here for Stephen Clark’s Twitter

Review of Ka-E-RO-U – Time to Go Home – A beautifully written book about the repatriation of a flag, history, culture and love by B. Jeanne Shibahara #Time to Go Home #B.JeanneShibahara #Review #WW2 #Japan #UK #USA #History #Culture #ModernTimes #fiction #Mystery #Humour

KA-E-RO-U – Time to Go Home
by B. Jeanne Shibahara
Rated 4 stars ****

About the Author and Book

B. Jeanne Shibahara studied fiction writing from Mark Harris (Bang the Drum Slowly) B Jeanne Shibharaand copywriting from Beth Luey (Editorial Consultant, Chicago Manual of Style, 16thEd.) in the MA program for creative writing at Arizona State University.

In Japan, B. Jeanne has taught English at a private university, written articles for research groups, and created jazz lyrics for composer Hajime Kitamura.

Daughter of a US military officer, she married into a family of calligraphy, ikebana, and tea ceremony teachers, shamisen player, kimono fabric artist, business entrepreneur, and architect. Her home is in Nara City, the ancient capital of Japan.

Time-slip to my Osaka life, 1995, fifty years after the end of WWII—bubble economy ready to burst and the seed to KA-E-RO-U falls into my hands. A WWII Japanese flag. A widow of a US veteran in Akron, Ohio sends the flag to a colleague of mine, asks him to find the family of the fallen soldier who had carried it into the battlefields.
Please click on the website link for more information about the author and the very interesting backstory to the book.           Link:    Website

Meryl is a Vietnam War widow who misses her grown son, feels left out after her father’s recent marriage. A WWII Japanese flag falls into her hands. The gentle push of a love-struck professor starts her adventure to take the flag home. From the neon of Osaka, to the ancient capital Nara, to the forests of Akita, the trail follows British and US expats, a newspaper reporter, factory manager, ikebana teacher, a Matagi hunter and winds through Japanese culture, past and present. A story of shared humanity and love “in the simplest things.”

Kaerou

Review

The book is well organised and split into 6 sections – Desert Flower M, The Backstreets of Namba, Day 2 in Japan, To Meryl To Atika, Returns and Finale.

The opening sentence is  “Everybody who knew the secretary knew she couldn’t resist any chance at serving up beefy gossip—seasoned, well done, sizzling and sputtering the latest, the most titillating, the just-gotta-tell.” I must say, it is instantly intriguing and I wanted to know a bit more and it is written so excellently.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the book as a whole really, but I was intrigued enough to really want to read it. I started to enjoy it from the outset in the office and getting to know the characters. The letter interested me as do the Shakespearean quotes. I like that there is some humour mingled in with history and people’s lives.

Kaerou takes readers along with Meryl, who is a war widow from the Vietnam war, on a  journey to Japan. She discovered a Japanese flag of a fallen soldier from the second world war and wants to deliver it back to the family. She meets many interesting characters who I enjoyed reading about, including a professor and a writer. The book is very character driven. The premise of the actual plot is fine and interesting enough. Sometimes the grammar isn’t at its best, but somehow that doesn’t detract from the actual story and the richness in culture. It really is fascinating to read about the cultures and how they sit in people’s minds as the book isn’t just about Japan, it covers the UK, Vietnam and the US.

The scenery is beautifully written and picturesque.

The book is nicely written and it is interesting as there are some quick, short chapters, yet the pace is smooth and gentle. The way it goes between past and present is beautifully presented and flows well and in an unconfused way. With all the complexities of the book, everything marries up well on the whole, leaving a pleasant satisfaction.

The book is a love story and one of discovery. It is also one of history and how it can join up with the present as there is a journey to join up the flag of the fallen soldier with his family. It’s about moving on, but not without making peace first with what was lost in the war. It’s also about life ever-moving onwards and it’s there to be really lived and embraced and trying to overcome and bridge that which divides us. So, as much as this is Remembrance Sunday and we think of our war dead and the veterans who are still alive, this book is about love too and there is something to learn here as well, even though Japan wasn’t an ally nation. In this book readers can learn about the past and more present times of Japan through the characters that are written about.

I think B.Jeanne Shibahara has achieved what she set out to achieve. She has a book that has a story, great characters and I get the sense of most importantly, one that tells the world about Japan.

Overall, I recommend this book. Take a leap, take that chance and read about the familiar and the perhaps, lesser well-known and learn something from this story that, although is fictional, is based on fact. So, I recommend to try this book for something new. Sometimes we get into reading very similar books time and time again, this book brings something new, or if you like reading about people’s lives or family sagas even, or learning about different cultures and thoughts and feeling emotions and history in terms of where it also sits with the present,  then I would recommend Ke a rou. Bascially, I say give it a go for a pleasant, satisfying read.

I have to say I enjoyed reading the book. Thanks to B. Jeanne Shibahara for contacting me on my contact page on my blog and for giving me this amazing opportunity to review her book. I thank her also for buying me a copy of her book and sending it to me.

Happy Halloween – A message and fun facts #Halloween #UK #USA #Family #Education #Article

Halloween pic

Happy Halloween and Fun Facts

I hope that if you do something for Halloween, that you enjoy it. Stay safe and have fun and enjoy any treats you get for your efforts of dressing up/taking the children round doors, singing songs, telling a story or a joke. Remember to be nice to people and they’ll be nice and more tolerant back.

In Scotland we call it guising, although increasingly, like so many things, it is now being very Americanised and also called sometimes Trick or Treating. In a world that is becoming increasingly challenging to be in, spread some kindness and fun across this Halloween.

Fun Facts about Halloween:

 

  • The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings, or sabbats, on Halloween night.

 

  • “Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.

 

  • Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.

 

  • According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside out and then walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.

 

  • Jack O’Lanterns were originally made from turnips.

Review of Trillium by Margaret Lindsay Holton #Trillium #MLHolton #Review #Historical #Canada #UK

Review of Trillium
by Margaret Lindsay Holton
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

About the Author

Artist Author MLHoltonMargaret Lindsay Holton is a senior Canadian artist and an award-winning fiction author from the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario, Canada. She has recently released her third novel.

Blurb

TRILLIUM intimately portrays the intertwining evolution of three very distinct families in the wine-making region known as Niagara in the Golden Horseshoe region, Ontario, Canada. …It all starts when 19-year-old Tom Hartford crosses over the mighty Niagara River in the 1750s … Readers will meet Maaka, an ingenious indigenous trapper; Franco, a dirt poor Sicilian labourer; Paddy O’Sullivan, a sweet-talking Irish con-artist and sweet Cate, the Hamilton port prostitute. And that’s just the beginning! All unfolds with a pair of motherless red-headed twin brothers, a diabolical hate-filled drunkard, two devoted raven-haired sisters, an obsessed land developer, hard-working Mexicans, a blind man, a handsome Italian-Canadian wine-maker, a blessed treasure trove of attentive mothers, one demented vineyard-wandering wife – and a startlingly beautiful, simpleton savant, Anna. A 250 year-old story about three families: the good, bad … and ugly.

TRILLIUM by MLHOLTON book cover

Review

Firstly, I was honoured to be asked by Canadian author Margaret Lindsay Holton to review her book – Trillium. I thank her for getting in touch with me via my blog with her request to read and review her book.

“Trillium is a spring flowering perennial, also known as Wake Robin, which are slow to establish but have a long life-span”.

Take an opportunity to read of this historical saga that gives an enlightening portrayal of different lives and times as it tracks families through multi-generations and their way of agricultural life and historical events that occur. The book is almost like reading a family tree, seeing people and what occurs during each generation makes this book fascinating. It goes further than that though as readers can get plunged into their lives and feel the emotions too. 

The book is in 9 parts, cleverly titled like a plant – seeds, roots, growing vines, flower, fruit, harvest, second harvest, MOG and new seeds. When you read the book, this all then makes sense in both the agricultural life of the characters and of the way the story spans across many years and generations, which begins with 3 settlers – Tom, Franco, and Paddy.

Reading about Niagara is interesting in this book and is brought to life beautiful descriptions, which enhances the book and the flow of the story, which moves along at a gentle pace as it evolves like a good wine.

There are traditional ties that link Scotland and Canada and in this book you will meet Clan Macdonald and their family traditions and the farming life. The book then moves onto seed number two as does the way of life in 1885. There’s even more of a feeling of some tension between Canada and England. There’s also, as time moves on the building of a suspension bridge and travel and trade really starts to get interesting too in this chapter. The author has captured a good sense of busy merchants and their trades.

Roots is an interesting part, like seeds, there are a number of roots also feeding into the family. It is interesting to read about the war times and then with vines, highlighting the aftermath of war. Flower has a different feel, a freshness about it again with life blossoming again and entering another new era, whereas by contrast, Harvest brings some challenging times and MOG, delves deeper as time moves on into the 90s that brings upon sadness and Holton captures the emotion well here. 90’s culture and attitudes is captured very nicely, an era I have lived through. New seeds are then sown into the family and the weave of time for other events to occur and this is the closing part of the book, which has a satisfying ending and one that is a reminder that there is death and there is birth and the way of the world goes on, as does life.

All in all, this is a well-rounded story that weaves fact and fiction to create character’s lives through different time-spans, which are well-captured in this book and gives great insight. I would recommend the book to those who enjoy historical sagas and family tracing and those wanting a glimpse into what events occured at different times.

I thank the author for providing me with her book and photos. I again thank her for writing to me to request I read and review her book. This review however is by no means biased.

Links to the book:

AMAZON paperback and ebook :
 https://www.amazon.com/Trillium-Margaret-Lindsay-Holton/dp/0992127289


EBOOK only : 
https://www.books2read.com/TRILLIUM