#BookReview By Lou of If You Should Fail By Joe Moran @joemoransblog @VikingBooksUK #NonFiction #SelfHelp #Philosophy

If You Should Fail
By Joe Moran

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

If You Should Fail is a non-fiction book that is certainly informative and interesting. Find out more in the blurb and then my review. I also thank Viking/Penguin UK for gifting the book in exchange of an honest review.

Blurb

There is an honesty and a clarity in Joe Moran’s book If You Should Fail that normalises and softens the usual blows of life that enables us to accept and live with them rather than be diminished/wounded by them’ Julia Samuel, author of Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass

‘Full of wise insight and honesty. Moran manages to be funny, erudite and kindly: a rare – and compelling – combination. This is the essential antidote to a culture obsessed with success. Read it’ Madeleine Bunting

Failure is the small print in life’s terms and conditions.

Covering everything from examination dreams to fourth-placed Olympians, If You Should Fail is about how modern life, in a world of self-advertised success, makes us feel like failures, frauds and imposters. Widely acclaimed observer of daily life Joe Moran is here not to tell you that everything will be all right in the end, but to reassure you that failure is an occupational hazard of being human. 

As Moran shows, even the supremely gifted Leonardo da Vinci could be seen as a failure. Most artists, writers, sports stars and business people face failure. We all will, and can learn how to live with it. To echo Virginia Woolf, beauty “is only got by the failure to get it . . . by facing what must be humiliation – the things one can’t do.”

Combining philosophy, psychology, history and literature, Moran’s ultimately upbeat reflections on being human, and his critique of how we live now, offers comfort, hope – and solace. For we need to see that not every failure can be made into a success – and that’s OK.

Review

Life is measured on success and failure, sometimes a long, seemingly fixed perception that is wide-spread in society, and sometimes a more personal perception. Joe Moran talks about the culture of success and now people are told that if they fail to try and try again and how fails become success. He talks more of the reality of this theory in quite a philosophical way. He also uses case studies and quotes from people from many different walks of life to illustrate the points he makes as he tries to change people’s perceptions on failure within the arguments he presents. There are mentions of well-known psychologists like Freud, literary people like Virginia Woolf, olympians and more…

It’s an interesting, philosophical book with something quite realistic, that may have readers examine their own lives in terms of failures and successes and how they perceive them and how society perceives them. It doesn’t try and set unachievable  expectations or goals.
I wasn’t as enthralled as I thought I might have been, even though it is at times, a deeply thought-provoking book, but don’t totally discount it as there are some interesting ideas and observations at how society is. There is a reality that most people at some point will relate to and may find useful. It is a book, perhaps best taking time to ponder over as you read and to reflect and think about what is being said in its well-researched weaving of historical and current time on the subject of failure and society.

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#BookReview By Lou of The Set-Up By Lizzy Dent @DentLizzy @VikingBooksUK @EllieeHud #LobsterArmy #Romcom #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #WomensFiction #Summer #SummerReading

The Set-Up
By Lizzie Dent

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Set-up is a sweet and funny rom-com that captures the heart. Today I am reviewing the latest stand-alone book by Lizzy Dent. The first was The Summer Job. Thanks to the publisher – Viking for gifting me the book to review from. Find out more in the Blurb and the rest of my review below…

Blurb

There are two men in my life. But this is not a love triangle.

 Mara Williams reads her horoscope every day – but she wasn’t expecting to be in a whole other country when destiny finally found her. Just as a fortune teller reveals that her true love is about to arrive, a gorgeous stranger literally walks into her life. And now Mara is determined to bring them together again . . . Surely even fate needs a nudge in the right direction sometimes?

But while Mara is getting ready for ‘the one’, the universe intervenes. Her new flatmate Ash is funny, and kind, and sexy as hell . . . There was no predicting this: it’s as if her destiny just arrived on her doorstep.

So will Mara put her destiny in fate’s hands – or finally trust herself to reach for the stars?

*An edgy, hilarious rom-com from the author of The Summer Job. For fans of Beth O’Leary, Starstruck and New Girl.*

Review

The Set UpI was delighted to be given the opportunity to review The Setup after falling in love with Lizzy Dent’s debut novel – The Summer Job. Lizzy Dent absolutely has the knack of writing rom-coms that are properly funny and captures your heart. The Setup is another absorbing summer read where time just flies by when reading in the sun.

The book is character driven by characters that you want to keep reading about until the very end and Mara, the main protagonist is one very interesting character to get to know.
Mara is going through some life changes and is into astrology. She studies and truly believes in horoscopes in such a big way that she totally follows their every word and absolutely believes in fate. It becomes apparent that horoscopes, clarevoyance, fate are a bit like a comfort blanket for her, concealing her insecurities and anxieties that do then begin to emerge to the surface. There are quiet introspective moments, giving readers an opportunity to see what’s going on in her head as the character development builds up. There’s a bit of repetition here and there, but that felt right as it felt like it was just part of Mara’s personality.

There ends up being 2 men in her life. This is far from being a conventional love-triangle.
There is the  wonderful and sexy dream of a guy who becomes her flatmate – Ash and talented cello player – Josef. There’s a choice to make – to follow what she thought was steadfast and true – the fate in the stars or be brave and step a bit into the unknown, where the rules and conclusion isn’t so clear-cut and follow her heart.

Mara is also a film buff and there are wonderful references to many films, which really adds to the fun. They’re intelligently woven through the story for a purpose – to send messages, but the question is, whether Mara actually sees what they are or not?

This is a rom-com perfect for a summer read, with complexities and humour.
Lizzy Dent absolutely nails it!

About the Author

Lizzy Dent (mis)spent her early twenties working in a hotel not unlike the one in her first novel, The Summer Job. Soon to be a TV series! She somehow ended up in a glamorous job travelling the world creating content for various TV companies, including MTV, Channel 4, Cartoon Network, the BBC and ITV. She writes about women who don’t always know where they’re going in life, but who always have fun doing it. The Setup is her second novel.

Happy Publication Day to Richard Osman #BookReview of the tremendously written – The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman @richardosman @VikingBooksUK @katyloftus @EileeHud #CrimeFiction #MustRead

The Thursday Murder Club
By Richard Osman
Rated: 5 stars *****

Just to add to his talents – impressively, Richard Osman, who most notably presents Pointless and House of Games with aplomb, can also write a book very well.
The Thursday Murder Club is a Must Read!

Many, many, many thanks for the advanced copy and for allowing me to review.

I have a burb and my review below. I loved the book. It is a Must Read.
Please note that my review is unbiased.

The Thursday Murder Club

Blurb

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

Review

The Thursday Murder Club is a book that hasn’t just reached expectations, it exceeded them!
Richard Osman is such a talented man and wow, can he write! I must say, after seeing him talk about his book and read an excerpt at Bloody Scotland Crime Festival in Stirling, way back in September 2019, I had high hopes. I’m so impressed that I do think it does have all the ingredients to make a terrific film and indeed Steven Speilberg has the rights to this.
The book is very hard to put down, once started.
With instantly likeable characters, who still have quite a bit of life and humour about them, it gets off to a fantastic start. They are quite a crew of people who wouldn’t normally have met, but are thrown together in their new stage of life in the retirement village, which I must say, sounds amazing, surrounded by countryside, with plenty to do. This is much more than a humour type of book, it is an excellent mystery that layers up and will take readers in all sorts of directions, sort of like an enigma in this otherwise genteel setting. I couldn’t guess who the culprit was. The book just absorbs you into its setting and characters incredibly well and everything is certainly flung at them. It takes a somewhat realistic view in the fact that the characters have to be aware of the present-day in its behaviour and technologies.

I was impressed then and the book has lived up to expectations; so I am still impressed now, having read the book in its entirety. It’s up there with some of the best in cosy crime, with its supposedly, unassuming characters in a retirement home, who are sharper and more “modern” in their thinking, than you would think, but they don’t appear to be as they are rather overlooked by many people, which proves useful as they get to do anything they want with little consequence. With solving crimes on their minds, they form The Thursday Murder Club and no more so when they find ways of getting involved in one that happened on their doorstep. 

There is some rather dark humour from the residents. That catches the attention straight off. Readers, are led, like you are going on a tour with her and you’re the person who is there to “Meet New People and Try New Things”, as the first part is called. It’s a clever way of introducing characters and some background and layout of the retirement community. Elizabeth is first, then Bernard, then Mary, Ron and Ibrahim. They like to talk about murders in sometimes, perhaps in  a way that you may not want to mess with them. Then there is a live murder, right on their doorsteps, that grabs the residents attention as they get themselves involved in solving the case in imaginative ways.
Throughout the book are excerpts of a diary that Joyce keeps, full of bits about murder and poignant, philisophical thoughts.

There is enough intrigue set up, surrounding Tony Curren and Ian Ventham and the companies.

The book is wonderfully nuanced with how the characters behave. I would go as far as saying Richard Osman has observed his chosen age group for his characters very well. The tone, things they say and how it is said, is very much set in reality. There’s quite a bit of positivity written about his older characters, to show that at least some, are still capable of doing things, which also amusing.

I thought it was a lovely thing to have a character (Ibrahim Arif) support Westham United. I also think it is lovely he has included a character (Ron Ritchie) who has read all of Mark Billingham’s books, since that is who he did a talk with and sounded like they know each other well. As well as the characters and plot being quite heart-warming, it is kind moments like these that also add to the heart-warming moments. 

The way the pensioners are with the Detective Inspector – Chris, is priceless and full of humour. I do sort of feel a bit sorry for the D.I. He certainly wouldn’t have expected the pensioners to be quite so excitable; but the way Richard Osman has written these scenes has timing down to a “T”.

“Everyone Has A Story to Tell” and they certainly do in the second part as more comes tumbling out.
Kindness is portrayed again, this time in the form of  strangers helping Joyce after a fall. There are also some unexpected twists and turns, which cause excitement and more debate amongst the residents. Things hot up as the Thursday Murder Club get ever closer to the truth.

The book can be bought from today on Amazon, Independent bookshops and Waterstones. I highly recommend this “Must Read” book.

The second book is being drafted out. I for one, cannot wait until it is published next autumn.

#Review of the tremendously written – The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman @richardosman @VikingBooksUK @readingagency #CrimeFiction #MustRead

The Thursday Murder Club
By Richard Osman
Rated: 5 stars *****

Just to add to his talents – impressively, Richard Osman, who most notably presents Pointless and House of Games with aplomb, can also write a book very well.
The Thursday Murder Club is a Must Read!
I didn’t come across being able to review in any normal kind of way. Not my normal anyway. So I’ve a little background into how this came about and the rest I give to the tremendous The Thursday Murder Club.

Many, many, many thanks! Not in my wildest dreams did I actually think, when I entered The Reading Agency Library Competition set by Isabella Giorgio, that I would actually win The Thursday Murder Club. For those who don’t know. To enter I had to write why a library should win a copy. To tell you quickly (for the competition I wrote in more detail). I happen to voluntarily lead a community library, that due to library closures, I set-up from scratch and put in every inch of experience working in libraries into it and ploughed most of my waking hours, into making it happen with a small team, I’ve done a lot of volunteering in various charities in my time – 20 years worth in early 2021 and I’m not even 40 years old yet!

This is Richard Osman’s moment for his tremendously good book and whoever picked me to win, I am forever grateful. I am also forever grateful, that upon asking, that I could review the book on my blog.
I have a burb and my review. I loved the book. It is a Must Read.
Please note that my review is unbiased.

The Thursday Murder Club

Blurb

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

Review

The Thursday Murder Club is a book that hasn’t just reached expectations, it exceeded them!
Richard Osman is such a talented man and wow, can he write! I must say, after seeing him talk about his book and read an excerpt at Bloody Scotland Crime Festival in Stirling, way back in September 2019, I had high hopes. I’m so impressed that I do think it could and perhaps should even be made into a film, or a tv series. I know a number of reviewers say this about books, but I’m not generally one of them. It’s just the calbre of writing and the “ingredients”, that if followed to the letter, it actually could work. Well, that’s my opinion anyway.
The book is very hard to put down, once started.
With instantly likeable characters, who still have quite a bit of life and humour about them, it gets off to a fantastic start.

I was impressed then and the book has lived up to expectations; so I am still impressed now, having read the book in its entirety. It’s up there with some of the best in cosy crime, with its supposedly, unassuming characters in a retirement home, who are sharper and more “modern” in their thinking, than you would think. They also have solving crimes on their minds, as they form The Thursday Murder Club and no more so when they find ways of getting involved in one that happened on their doorstep.

There is some rather dark humour from the residents. That catches the attention straight off. Readers, are led, like you are going on a tour with her and you’re the person who is there to “Meet New People and Try New Things”, as the first part is called. It’s a clever way of introducing characters and some background and layout of the retirement community. Elizabeth is first, then Bernard, then Mary, Ron and Ibrahim. They like to talk about murders in sometimes, perhaps in  a way that you may not want to mess with them. Then there is a live murder, right on their doorsteps, that grabs the residents attention as they get themselves involved in solving the case in imaginative ways.
Throughout the book are excerpts of a diary that Joyce keeps, full of bits about murder and poignant, philisophical thoughts.

There is enough intrigue set up, surrounding Tony Curren and Ian Ventham and the companies.

The book is wonderfully nuanced with how the characters behave. I would go as far as saying Richard Osman has observed his chosen age group for his characters very well. The tone, things they say and how it is said, is very much set in reality. There’s quite a bit of positivity written about his older characters, to show that at least some, are still capable of doing things, which also amusing.

I thought it was a lovely thing to have a character (Ibrahim Arif) support Westham United. I also think it is lovely he has included a character (Ron Ritchie) who has read all of Mark Billingham’s books, since that is who he did a talk with and sounded like they know each other well. As well as the characters and plot being quite heart-warming, it is kind moments like these that also add to the heart-warming moments. 

The way the pensioners are with the Detective Inspector – Chris, is priceless and full of humour. I do sort of feel a bit sorry for the D.I. He certainly wouldn’t have expected the pensioners to be quite so excitable; but the way Richard Osman has written these scenes has timing down to a “T”.

“Everyone Has A Story to Tell” and they certainly do in the second part as more comes tumbling out.
Kindness is portrayed again, this time in the form of  strangers helping Joyce after a fall. There are also some unexpected twists and turns, which cause excitement and more debate amongst the residents. Things hot up as the Thursday Murder Club get ever closer to the truth.

The book can be pre-ordered. It is published 3rd September 2020 from many places, including Waterstones. I highly recommend this “Must Read” book.