Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Debut, Love, Review, Summer Reads

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls and even better than that it publishes TODAY!

Synopsis

Owen Nicholls’ Love, Unscripted is an uplifting love story, following film projectionist
Nick as he tries to understand the difference between love on the silver screen and love
in real life. Perfect for fans of David Nicholls, Nick Hornby and Laura Barnett.

For Nick, love should look like it does on the big screen. And when he meets Ellie on the
eve of the 2008 presidential election, it finally does. For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job as a film projectionist in his local cinema. Life seemed picture-
perfect. But now it’s 2012, Ellie has moved out and Nick’s trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

With Ellie gone and his life falling part, Nick wonders if their romance could ever be as perfect as the night they met.

Can love really be as it is in the movies?

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My thoughts…

Oh but this novel is a complete joy to read. A delicious love story that has sufficient angst and ‘will they won’t they’ moments that swept me away. As a film lover I adored the references scattered throughout and I loved the sections featuring Nick’s job as a film projectionist, especially at a time that covered the inevitable move from 35mm to digital. This novel is not only about Nick’s love for Ellie and his journey of discovery as to where it all went wrong but also a nod to historical changes happening in the world at this time (beginning with Obama becoming President of the United States). Can such changes mean an inevitable death or simply a chance for new beginnings?

Ellie and Nick are quite obviously made for each other but as we join there story she has moved out. The beginning if the end. We have Nick’s viewpoint on things and so often events aren’t quite as they seem but gradually he comes to realise what actually went wrong and where the fault lies. Relationships are never straightforward and Nick does at times seem hellbent on self destruction and had me shouting at the book ‘You Idiot!’ on more than one occasion. I have to say that it was only because I am a total believer in true love and I so wanted these too characters work it out and fall back into each other’s lives. Owen’s writing is a joy to read. His plot was faultless, funny and moving. My favourite moment is a toss up between the visit to the Cannes Film Festival or the bathroom window incident – both made me laugh out loud. I can so see this being adapted into a screenplay or film. Love, Unscripted is deserving of a permanent place on my bookshelf for a reread on many occasions and I wholeheartedly recommend inviting this wonderfully uplifting read into your lives.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to the lovely people at Headline Review for sending me a copy. It was an absolute joy.

 

About the author

Owen Nicholls

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Owen Nicholls is a screenwriter with a Masters in Scriptwriting from the UEA. His work has appeared in Empire and NME, and earlier this year Love, Unscripted was selected for the Escalator Scheme run by Writers’ Centre in Norwich.

You can follow One on Twitter at @OwenNicholls

 

 

Love, Unscripted is published in hardback on August the 22nd by Headline Review.

It is also available on eBook and Audiobook.  the paperback is scheduled for publication in February 2020 but believe me you don’t want to have to wait until then to read this.

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Adult Fiction, Family Drama, Fiction, Netgalley, Review

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshenda Muckhopadhyay

Synopsis

At eighteen, Somlata married into the Mitras: a once noble Bengali household whose descendants have taken to pawning off the family gold to keep up appearances.

When Pishima, the embittered matriarch, dies, Somlata is the first to discover her aunt-in-law’s body – and her sharp-tongued ghost.

First demanding that Somlata hide her gold from the family’s prying hands, Pishima’s ghost continues to wreak havoc on the Mitras. Secrets spilt, cooking spoilt, Somlata finds herself at the centre of the chaos. And as the family teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, it looks like it’s up to her to fix it.

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is a frenetic, funny and fresh novel about three generations of Mitra women, a jewellery box, and the rickety family they hold together.

My thoughts…

This was an interesting and engaging read. I was greatly intrigued by the title and the synopsis. This novel brings this Bengali family to life with colour and wit. The aunt of the title is cantankerous and difficult and leaves as much of a shadow on the family in death as in life. Young Somlata who has recently married into the Mitra family and after discovering her aunt-in-law’s body (and her lingering spirit) has more to deal with than an average young Bengali family. Her aunt-in-law seems hellbent on making life difficult and full of hatred and spite for her surviving family. Yet in many ways her choosing to reveal herself to young Somlata seems the obvious choice as the young girl proves that she can more than hold her own in this chaotic family.

A short but fascinating story that was highly enjoyable and a wonderful snapshot into a culture very different my own.

Thank you to the Netgalley and the publisher, John Murray for my review copy.

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is available in hardback, eBook and on Audiobook, with a paperback edition coming in 2020.

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Fiction, Thriller, Uncategorized

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

Synopsis

The victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.

The defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

Whose side would you take?

Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest young legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a glittering career at the Bar. All before hanging up her barrister’s wig to help the victims who needed her most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.

Jodie’s own best friend doesn’t even believe her claims that their classmates carried out such a crime. But Zara does. And Zara is determined to fight for her. Jodie and Zara become the centre of the most explosive criminal trial of the year, in which ugly divisions within British society are exposed. As everything around Zara begins to unravel she becomes even more determined to get Jodie the justice she’s looking for. But at what price?

Thrilling, brave and explosive, Take It Back is a masterclass in storytelling and will hold you in rapture until the final, breathtaking page.

My Review

This is a fantastically written taut drama that had me gripped right until the very end. Brilliantly plotted and structured throughout this is an absolute corker of a novel.

Zara Kaleel is a damaged character in herself. She fights against so many hurdles; her family honour, religion and ultimately her own guilt. She turned her back on a successful career as a barrister because she wanted to make a real difference and help people. Yet this latest victim may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. This is a very complex issue and is so much more than an accusation by a girl against four boys, this is an accusation of a white disabled girl against four muslim boys. In helping Jodie, Zara is seen as turning against her own but all she cares about it bringing justice for the victim.

Author Kia Abdullah highlights so many issues in the novel. Jodie is a disfigured young girl and so doubt is instantly placed on her claims – why would four, handsome young men attack her? Throughout the novel there is a shadow of doubt over both sides of the stories and it brilliantly highlights how difficult such cases are to take through the courts. This is a complex case that sends waves of conflict beyond the local community, including Zara’s own family. Kia manages to put in plenty of twists and turns, and I have to say the ending was rather superb.

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Many thanks to the lovely people at HQ Stories for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for sending me the review copy for an honest review. They have a fantastic selection of novels being published this year so do check out their website via the link above.

About the author

Kia Abdullah

Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer. She has contributed to The Guardian , BBC, and Channel 4 News, and most recently The New York Times commenting on a variety of issues affecting the Muslim community. Kia currently travels the world as one half of the travel blog Atlas & Boots, which receives over 200,000 views per month.

Visit Kia’s website at Kiaabdullah.com

Adult Fiction, Crime, Fiction, Summer Reads, Suspense, Thriller

Summer Reads – The Closer I Get

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting. I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations. (Don’t forget to check back through my July post for further summer reading recommendations)

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

Adult Fiction

Here’s the synopsis:
Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.
Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.
When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one `like’ away…

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Now, I know I have only posted my review for this quite recently (do have a read of it here) but it really is a super novel and I so wanted to include it in my summer recommendations.
The Closer I Get was published in July and is available in paperback, eBook and on Audiobook. Visit the Orenda website here for more information but it should be available in any good bookshop.

Paperback ISBN: 9781912374779

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Read it already? Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Summer Reads, Suspense, Thriller

Call Me A Liar by Colette McBeth

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the nail-biting Call Me A Liar  by Colette McBeth.

You could say it started with vanity.

We believed we were special.

But the truth is we were simply vulnerable.

Months after landing their dream job, five brilliant young minds are sent on a remote retreat.

But when one of them disappears, they’re forced to question why they were brought there in the first place.

And for the first time in their lives, they realise too much knowledge can be deadly . . .

One of them is lying.
One of them is guilty.
No one is safe.

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Oh. My. Goodness!  This is a cracking thriller that had me gripped from the very first page. We begin with a sentencing but we don’t know who is stood before the judge, we only now that they are ruthless, callous and lacking in remorse.  And so it begins…

Joe and Libby are young, ambitious and in love.  They have both just graduated university with first class degrees and the world it quite literally their oyster.  Soon they are living the dream, sharing a flat and working for an up-and-coming new company that is hired my large corporate companies to hack into their systems in order to offer advice on how to increase their cyber security and make sure the wrong people are unable to hack in.

A small group of five new, young intakes are all working together but some have secrets that they’re desperate to keep hidden from the group and when they all take a trip to a remote location in Sussex for some group bonding things begin too fall apart and take a deadly turn.  Who can be trusted?  Colette’s brilliant storytelling leaves us questioning all the way through.

A stunning tale told through multi viewpoints that twists and turns leaving you grasping for the truth and never knowing who you should trust.  This is a engrossing read that left me unable to do anything else until the final page was turned.  There are some shocking twists in there too.  Go on, grab yourself a copy.  It’s perfect escapism.

Call Me Liar is published by Headline and is available in paperback, eBook and on audiobook.

Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this bog tour.

About the author

Colette McBeth

Colette-McBeth-authorColette McBeth is the critically acclaimed author of psychological thrillers, Precious Thing, The Life I Left Behind and An Act of Silence, which was shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. Her new book, Call Me A Liar will be released in Spring 2019. Pre-order your copy now.

Colette was a BBC TV News television correspondent for ten years during which time she covered many major crime stories and worked out of Westminster as a political reporter. Prior to that, she was a news editor for Sky News.

Colette is a member of Killer Women, the female collective of crime writers.

You can visit Colette’s website here.

You can follows Colette on Twitter at @colettemcbeth

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7+, 9+, Children's Fiction

You’ve Been Were-Wolfed by Tom McLaughlin – Reviewed by Eva

Today I’m delighted to hand the review baton over to lovely Eva.  Eva is a book loving eleven-year-old and I’m thrilled to have her on board to give the low-down on some great children’s books.  Now over to Eva…

You’ve Been Were-Wolfed by Tom McLaughlin

A laugh-out-loud mystery series with a new hilarious case for our heroic nerds to crack in each book.

When Tyler is sent to summer camp, she can’t resist packing one of her latest science projects – the Hologramaphone 3000. Problem is, some of the phone’s functions have EXTREME side-effects, the kind that can turn your best-friend into a ferocious werewolf!

But when SUPER GEEKS Tyler, Dylan and Ashley band together, there’s no problem that they can’t solve – no matter how big, hairy, and terrifying.

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My first review is for a book named You’ve Been Were-wolfed by Tom McLaughlin.

Tyler Fritz is an Einstein obsessed genius, she loves to be a leader and hates the outdoors. One of her friends, Ashley always carries a screwdriver and is allergic to dogs, but she also hates the parents WhatsApp group. Her other friend Dylan is allergic to everything! And she loves sweets.

This a very funny book and the author has achieved what he wanted to make the reader feel. This book is aimed at 7-11 year old’s and is an interesting story told with a strong sense of humour. It has intriguing characters for the reader to explore an engaging story with.

If you liked Pamela Butchart’s My Head Teacher is a Vampire Rat you will surely
love this book. This story has books, phones, outdoors, indoors, squirrels,
woodlice, racoons, dogs and… unicorns! Who wouldn’t want to read it?

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Thank you so much to the lovely people at OUP.  Both Eva and I LOVED You’ve Been Were-wolfed.

You’ve Been Were-wolfed by Tom McLaughlin was published 2nd May by OUP.  

About the author

Tom McLaughlin

81VoXxh1nnL._US230_.jpgI write pictures and doodle words for Bloomsbury, Puffin, Oxford University Press, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, The Guardian; Disney, Nickelodeon.

After leaving art college in ’97, I spent nearly 10 years as a political cartoonist for The Western Morning News before going freelance.

I’ve been published both as a writer and an illustrator for a number of publishers, had my books translated across Europe and South America. Apart from publishing, I’ve also spent time script writer and a character designer for several animation channels.

I live in Devon, spend most of my days drinking tea and dreaming up new stories.

More books by Tom…

Blog Tour

Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

Today I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness. Every now and then a book comes into your life that you know will only make it better. This is one such book.

When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came closer to his experiences with nature and, in particular, birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is.

The positive change in Joe’s wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. Three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street.

In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, How explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites you to discover these extraordinary effects for yourself.

‘I can’t remember the last book I read that I could say with absolute assurance would save lives. But this one will’ – Chris Packham

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Even as I sit and write this I can hear a chorus of birdsong outside. It is a constant source of comfort to me and so to take it to the next step, to spend time learning about these wonderful creatures and identifying them seems completely the right thing to do. It’s funny, but now that I think about it I can relate a great deal to what Joe talks about in Bird Therapy. Birds are naturally soothing (unless of course you are in a Hitchcock movie). They can make us stop with their sound and their beauty… and it’s almost like pausing and taking a breath. Our destructive thoughts are interrupted and for a moment nature takes over, grounding us in a way that is incredibly hard to do in the world we are living in today.

I think in so many ways Bird Therapy is a very important book.  There are frustratingly still so many issues behind discussing mental health, a stigma that still exists.  It take a great deal of courage to put yourself out there and I am always inspired and in awe of those who can talk about their personal experience with mental health.

So who is Joe Harkness?  Well if you are already someone interested in birdwatching then you may well have heard of him.  I hadn’t until I was invited to take part in this blog tour.  He works as a Special Educational Needs Coordinator, a challenging and stressful job.  He is also a very talented writer and has been writing his Bird Therapy blog for over three years.  Joe is very honest with his own health issues and this honesty is incredibly moving.  To witness, through this book, his absolute rock bottom and see how he has come back  is incredibly inspiring.  Yet is an incredibly upbeat book, filled with fascinating facts and information (and even tips on how to bring Bird Therapy into your life too).

It is beautifully written and the overpowering message for me was the importance of reconnecting.  Reconnecting with nature, the world around us and with ourselves.  I have read many books on coping with mental health issues and this seems to be a common theme.  That at times we just need to stop.  The world is racing along at high speed, everything is instant and then  gone in a heartbeat.  No wonder we are struggling to keep up.  But do we really need to?  The answer is no.  The answer is to find your happy place.  A place where the brightness overpowers the dark.  This will then help us to cope with all the other stuff that life throws at us.

Throughout my own recovery from mental health issues I found solace in the garden. I love the peace and quite, the routine of planting, weeding, and if it all goes wrong then I know that nature will recover.  There is always a fresh start (otherwise known as spring).  Joe has found his solace in birdwatching and from his despair something truly wonderful has emerged.  He is incredibly knowledgeable in what he writes and there is so much in this book that many people can relate to.  He reminds us of the simple pleasures of looking at the worlds around us.

Yes this is a book about birdwatching and mental health but it’s also a fascinating read about human nature.  Even if you have no desire to become a watcher of birds there is something in this book that will move and inspire you.   Even if you don’t suffer from mental health issues then this book will still delight in it’s celebration of nature and it will give you a better understanding of those who do suffer.  Because statistics show that each and everyone one of us either suffer or know someone who suffers form mental health issues – even if we don’t know it yet.

This is an absolutely stunning read inside and out.  The illustrations were a wonderful addition too. When I read the synopsis for the book and saw the cover I thought Bird Therapy was something very different and very special.  Now that I have read it, I would say it most definitely is.

Thank you for sharing your experience Joe.  It truly was a wonderful read.

Bird Therapy is published by Unbound.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour. Bird Therapy will hold a treasured spot on my bookshelves.

About the author

Joe Harkness

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Joe Harkness has been writing his Bird Therapy blog for the last three years. He has written for Birdwatch magazine. The Curlew and the i newspaper, among others. Joe also speaks about his experiences and has recorded three ‘tweets of the day’ for BBC Radio 4. He works as a Special Educational Needs Coordinator and has worked with vulnerable groups for nine years. He lives in Norfolk.

You can follow Joe on Twitter at @BirdTherapy

You can also read more on Joe’s blog on the therapeutic benefits of bird watching here

The blog tour runs on until June 21st so do check out some of the other posts along the way.

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