Saturday, 21 April 2018

[Blog Tour] Review - The Lido by Libby Page

The Lido by Libby Page
Publisher: Orion Books
Release date: 19 April 2018
Back cover blurb: Meet Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers... Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George. Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She's on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it. So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim - it is the heart of the community. The Lido is an uplifting novel about the importance of friendship, the value of community, and how ordinary people can protect the things they love.

Kate is a junior journalist at the local Brixton Herald is fed up with mundane stories and looking for something big so that she can feel valued as a reporter.

The truth is, since moving to London, Kate is lonely and suffering from a crippling anxiety (the Panic) that no one knows anything about.

When her boss asks her to cover the story of the local Lido’s potential closure, Kate is reluctant at first. It isn’t exactly the story she wanted, and she isn’t particularly a fan of swimming and truly doesn’t see how she can help.

Meeting Rosemary changes everything,

The Lido has been Rosemary’s life. She has so many memories of the past that are linked to the open air swimming pool, but is about so much more than that.

Local community services closing like the library that Rosemary used to work in have meant that the community feel is being lost. Keeping the Lido would mean that Brixton would still have a service for all and a sense of community.

As Kate becomes more invested in the story she becomes friends with Rosemary and in turn friends with Rosemary’s friends; local market stall holders, the local book shop owners and Kate begins to feel valued, wanted and that she might belong in Brixton after all.

Jay her photographer at the paper is a great help as Kate outlines her plans for trying to save the Lido. He too becomes a great friend and Kate finally begins to believe in her own future.

Sadly the Lido’s future is less certain, but Kate and her new found friends will be doing all they can to try and save it from closure.

The Lido is a real lovely novel with community at its heart. As a former competitive swimmer I could almost smell the chlorine and definitely want to visit this Lido again.

The Lido is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour;

Friday, 20 April 2018

Review - Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent
Publisher: Penguin Ireland
Release date: 5 April 2018
Back cover blurb: I could probably have been an actress. It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else. Isn't that what I've been doing for most of my life? Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for twenty-five years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out. The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her grotty flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly . . .

Cordelia (Delia) Russell is an adult observing a corpse in her home when we first meet her at the beginning of this novel. There is something about Cordelia that is difficult to put your finger on. You get the feeling almost immediately that you shouldn’t trust her, but you don’t quite know why.

We are then taken back to Delia’s (as she was known then) childhood on the remote island off the cost of Ireland. The opinion of the mainlanders is that everyone on the Island is strange, it has a reputation for inbreeding. But Delia is a beautiful young girl, the apple of her Father’s eye.

Martin O’Flaherty is obsessed with his daughter, and largely ignores his wife and sons. It is this obsession that I think is ultimately where Delia’s issues start. Put on a pedestal by her devoted father, she can do no wrong.

So when she finds herself alone on the mainland, taken in by the family that find her wandering the streets whilst she awaits her fathers arrival, Delia is unsure for the first time in her life how to behave. When tragedy strikes, her behaviour only becomes worse until she is finally adopted a couple from Westport.

Delia’s childhood is unremarkable, but when she becomes a teenager, she realises how she can use her beauty to her advantage. What follows next as we follow Delia’s journey is at times shocking, unfortunate and mostly of her own making.

Skin Deep is at times a dark and disturbing novel, that may make at times for uncomfortable reading, but it is 100% worth it.

Skin Deep is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Review - Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce

Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce
Publisher: Picador
Release date: 5 April 2018
Back cover blurb: London, 1941. Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance – but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. But as Emmy reads the desperate pleas from women who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong man, or can't bear to let their children be evacuated, she decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back . . . Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce is a love letter to the enduring power of friendship, the kindness of strangers and the courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

Dear Mrs Bird is a beautifully written novel about a young girl with dreams of becoming a war correspondent.

Emmeline Lake, better known as Emmy or Em is Marigold (Bunty) Tavistock is working days as a waitress and nights as a volunteer answering telephones for the (Auxiliary Fire Service) AFS, when she sees an advert for a job in a local newspaper office.

Partly through the bumbling, thoroughly unorganised and endearing Mr. Collins who interviews her and partly through her own skim reading of the advertisement, Emmy accepts the job without realising it is for a magazine housed in the same building as the newspaper, Women’s Friend.

Her boss is Mrs. Henrietta Bird, Assistant Editoress of the magazine and a formidable and curmudgeonly woman. Mrs. Bird is the editor of the popular “Henrietta Helps” page of the magazine.

However, contrary to the advice columns of today, Mrs Bird is blunt, borderline rude in her responses and doesn’t respond to many of the letters she is sent.

She in fact has a list of “undesirable” letters that absolutely must not land on her desk under any circumstances. These include tales of affairs with forgeign soilders, unexpected (but not necessarily unwanted) pregnancies and very ordinary marriage troubles.

Emmy thinks it scandalous that Mrs. Bird won’t even acknowledge women in need, let alone answer their letters. So she sees it as her duty, as a fellow, spirited young woman to write back in secret and give them advice.

Dear Mrs. Bird is a delightfully British account of a young girl in war time Britain. There is a very sensitive authenticity about this novel, it tackles some difficult subjects brilliantly, and I just loved the ending. A really lovely novel.

Dear Mrs Bird is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Review - The women of the castle by Jessica Shattuck

The women of the castle by Jessica Shattuck
Publisher: Zaffre
Release date: 5 April 2018
Back cover blurb: In war they made impossible choices. Now can they live with them? Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany's defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband's ancestors. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed plot to assassinate Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold her promise: to find and protect her fellow resistance widows, and their children. Travelling across the smouldering wreckage of her homeland Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin from a Nazi reeducation home, then his mother from occupying Red Army soldiers. In one of the refugee camps, she locates Ania - another resister's wife - and her two boys. Marianne is certain their shared pain will hold them together, but she quickly finds the world is now infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and lies. All three women must come to terms with the choices they made before, during and after the war. An evocative and enthralling novel exploring what it means to survive and, ultimately, to learn to live in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

When Marianne Von Lingenfel makes a promise to her dear friend Connie she doesn’t for a second believe that she will need to follow through on that in the years to come, and that her actions will be her for the rest of her life.

Marianne is the wife of a prolific member of the German resistance, determined to do the right thing for Germany and bring down Hitler and his men. Restoring peace to the country and securing a better future for all.

The resistance plot to assassinate Hitler is a failure, and all collaborators murdered in the most horrific ways.

Their families are left behind to pick up the pieces, their lives changed forever in a way that none of them could ever have imagined.

The women of the castle is a beautifully written novel, that covers some horrific historical events with dignity, but does not shy away from the brutality and horror of Hitlers' regime.

I loved that this novel focused on the German resistance during the Second World War, it documents Hitler's rise and fall in a way that we rarely see.

How very ordinary German people were sucked into his charismatic speeches and others were not...

The women of the castle is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Review - Entanglement by Katy Mahood

Entanglement by Katy Mahood
Publisher: The Borough Press
Release date: 22 March 2018
Back cover blurb: 2007: at the end of a momentous day, Charlie, Stella and John cross paths under the arches of Paddington Station. As Charlie locks eyes with Stella across the platform, a brief, powerful spark of recognition flashes between them. But they are strangers … aren’t they? Plunging back thirty years we watch as, unknown to them all, the lives of Stella and John, and Charlie and his girlfriend Beth, are pulled ever closer, an invisible thread connecting them across the decades and through London’s busy streets. For Stella, becoming a young mother in the 1970s puts an end to her bright academic career in a way John can’t seem to understand. Meanwhile Charlie gambles all future happiness with Beth when his inner demons threaten to defeat him. In rhythmic and captivating prose, Katy Mahood effortlessly interweaves the stories of these two families who increasingly come to define one another in the most vital and astounding ways. With this soaring debut, she explores the choices and encounters that make up a lifetime, reminding us just how closely we are all connected.

Entanglement was an unexpected joy of a novel for me. When I first started it I was a little apprehensive as it took me a while to get used to the characters and how their lives were interwoven with one another.

Stella and John. Charlie and Beth. London, 1977. Two new couples starting their journeys together in life whose life’s are changed forever by two totally separate events.

The first is the bombing of a London pub by the IRA. The second an unexpected but not necessarily unwanted pregnancy. Both couples are very young and ultimately unprepared to deal with the very adult decisions that they must now face.

The tales of these two couples are effortlessly interwoven by this author, and as their paths cross through the following years that become irretrievably entangled in one another’s lifes. Though they don’t discover this until much later in the novel.

It’s hard to say too much more without giving anything away. So I will leave it there, I will however say that; 

Entanglement is a beautifully written novel spanning some thirty years. It is an impressive debut, and I look forward to this authors next novel.

Entanglement is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who invited me to view this title via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Review - Hangman by Daniel Cole

Hangman by Daniel Cole
Publisher: Trapeze
Release date: 22 March 2018
Back cover blurb: A detective with no one to trust
A killer with nothing to lose. 18 months after the 'Ragdoll' murders, a body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, the word 'BAIT' carved into the chest. In London a copycat killer strikes, branded with the word 'PUPPET', forcing DCI Emily Baxter into an uneasy partnership with the detectives on the case, Special Agents Rouche and Curtis. Each time they trace a suspect, the killer is one step ahead. With the body count rising on both sides of the Atlantic, can they learn to trust each other and identify who is holding the strings before it is too late?

Hangman is the second novel in Daniel Cole’s debut trilogy series.

Detective William Oliver Layton-Fawkes (Wolf to me and you) is still missing 18 months on from the Ragdoll murders, when Detective Emily Baxter watched him flee the old bailey after the sensational trial.

Newly promoted to DCI, Emily Baxter is trying to get on with her life with no one to trust apart from former colleague Edmunds, who has moved back to Fraud, away from the gritty world of murder and terror. 

Meanwhile a gruesome discovery is playing out hundreds of miles away.

A body is found hanging from Brooklyn Bridge, New York, USA, with the word BAIT carved into its chest. The victim was strung up by someone who has the word PUPPET carved into their own chest.

Baxter is blissfully unaware of this until the authorities decide that they need her help.

When FBI Agent Curtis and British CIA Agent Rouche land (almost literally) at Emily’s desk, she is as you can imagine, not particularly thrilled at being dragged into the case. There have been literally hundreds of copycat Ragdoll murders and this appears to be no exception.

But when she learns of the name of the Brooklyn Bridge victim, she finds herself with little choice but to join the investigation.

I can’t say too much more about this novel as it’s one that you definitely need to read for yourself! And as for the ending..., well let’s just say I can’t wait for the next novel in the series!

Hangman is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.