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Psychosis – Tony Marturano – Reader’s Group

Posted on 27th February 2017 in #bookreview/ advice/ book review/ books

PsychosisI was truly honoured this week to be a part of a reader’s feedback group for author, Tony Marturano.

I was there to give feedback on the first draft of his new novel ‘Psychosis’ and it was a fabulous experience.

It was also a pretty nerve-wracking, daunting experience too as I have never met Tony before so I had no idea what sort of person he was, or even if this whole thing was a scam and I would end up chopped into a thousand tiny pieces and never seen again…

My fears were, fortunately, unfounded. I was welcomed into Tony’s home and made to feel incredibly welcome. There were 3 of us ‘newbies’, 2 in person and 1 by skype plus 4 more seasoned members of the feedback group.

It was a fascinating experience and I feel incredibly fortunate to have taken part. The other people in the group were all lovely and time flew by as we all offered our thoughts (while being plied with coffee and pastries). Tony ran the process like a well oiled machine and took compliments and criticisms all with the same gentle humour and easy manner. This made it very easy to be completely honest and I think it was brave of him to open himself up to opinions in this way.

The book itself (another thing I was dreading – what if it was awful?!) was really good. I obviously can’t give any spoilers (and will review it on my book review site in due course) but it is a really strong storyline and Tony’s characterisation and descriptive writing are simply superb.

I hope to see these lovely people again and I have already downloaded some of Tony’s other books to read!

The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling #bookreview

Posted on 16th November 2012 in #bookreview/ book review/ books

 

The Casual Vacancy

by J K Rowling

Have to confess I actually had no idea what this book was about before I started reading it. The only press I’d seen regarding it was negative comments owing to it not being a children’s book. Which I personally thought was a bit odd – what gives anyone the right to dictate to an author which genre they ‘must’ write in?

So, I was actually under the impression that this was to be a shag-fest, swear-fest of a book, possibly about temporary office workers, (insert suitable reference not judging a book by its cover here 😉 ) and was therefore a little surprised to find myself reading a book about a vacancy at a Parish Council.

Not at all what I expected but a charming little (massive) book which leads you an a journey through the lives of the villagers of Pagford. This is a gentle read with lots of characters and intricately woven story threads which all pull together as you read on.

Overall it lacks the punch of the Harry Potter novels but as a standalone book it is a good, if bitter-sweet, read.

 

 

The Calling #BookReview

Posted on 16th August 2012 in #bookreview/ alison bruce/ book review/ books/ Crime Fiction

The Calling

by Alison Bruce

Synopsis: Kaye Whiting went to buy a birthday present and didn’t come back. Fifty miles away in Cambridge town centre a deeply disturbed young woman is standing by a payphone. She often feels compelled to do harmful things and is driven by a desire to make a call. When Kaye’s body is discovered, the only clue DC Gary Goodhew has to go on is a woman’s voice on his voicemail saying, “Kaye isn’t the first and won’t be the last…”

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am reading my way through the Alison Bruce books after discovering and loving Cambridge Blue.

I have one negative comment and I’ll get it out of the way first (Alison already knows this anyway!) I’m really sad that the cover has been changed from the original one which was:

I personally love the original style of the jacket covers and think it’s a real shame that they’ve been made more generic by the publishers.

Anyway, the book!

I know from my Q&A session with Alison that The Calling, although being the third in the Cambridge Blue series, is actually the first one that she wrote and I read the book with that knowledge to see if I could ‘tell’. I certainly don’t think it is screamingly obvious, but there were a few subtle differences about DC Gary Goodhew’s personality?

I love it when I get to start a new DC Gary Goodhew book, it’s great to settle down with a book knowing that you love the characters and that you love the writing style. The Calling did not disappoint. It is fast paced (as all of the series have been so far) and you get drawn into the story very quickly, making it hard to put the book down.

Poor Kaye, I was willing her to hang on and was quite shocked when she didn’t! That was totally unexpected for me but it was a great way to be thrown straight into the book. I thought that the pain portrayed by Kaye’s mother was excellently observed.

I kept changing my mind about who my chief suspect was as the story progressed and I enjoyed being kept on my toes as new developments arose. I liked the way that the crime was solved between DC Goodhew and the enigmatic character ‘Marlowe’ and thought the relationship between their, equally untraditional, personalities felt very plausable.

As ever I have no intention of giving away the ending to this book, except to say that I one point I did think Alison had taken leave of her senses with the way the story was heading but it was of course just another cleverly woven red herring!

Great book – if you are new to the Cambridge Blue series, please pick up a copy of Cambridge Blue first and fall in love with enigmatic DC Gary Goodhew!

Tuesdays With Morrie #bookreview

Posted on 19th March 2012 in book review/ mitch albom/ tuesdays with morrie

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

I bought Tuesdays With Morrie because I was so touched by The Five People You Meet In Heaven.

It is another tiny little book which rips through your defences and leaves you blubbing – I read most pages with a running internal monologue of ‘I will not cry, I will not cry’ I failed miserably.

Don’t let that put you off it, it is a fabulous book.

I don’t know how Mitch Albom manages to put some much genuine emotion into his words but boy do they pack a punch.

A book that makes you look at yourself and not always like what you see, but then shows you how easy it would be to change the view.

Go read it!

 

 

The Five People You Meet In Heaven #bookreview

Posted on 19th March 2012 in book review/ five people you meet in heaven/ mitch albom

 

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

Tiny little book.

I bought my copy in New York because I loved the rough unfinished edges on the pages. I didn’t know anything about it, just liked the feel of the thing.

When I read it I was blown away by how much it affected me.

This book takes you on a short but soul enhancing journey.

You HAVE to read it. That is all.

Papertoy Monsters!

Posted on 31st March 2011 in book review/ Family Fun/ Papertoy Monsters

I have to share with you a new book that my boys have been playing with.

When I say ‘have to’ I meant that I would like to, not that someone has a gun to my head. Just in case you wondered. I know you didn’t.

Anyhoo.

The book is called Papertoy Monsters and it’s flipping brilliant!

 

It is great to just hand over to the children, my 2 (aged 9 & 11) amused themselves for hours (oh yes, HOURS) making an army of monsters. The pages can be torn out and divided up – then the monsters are popped out of the page and assembled. Younger children would need help with tricky folds and gluing.

 

Soon enough your lounge will also look like it’s been taken over by a race from outaspace! Great book, good family fun, heartily recommend it.

Books That Made Me Cry #Meme #theboxoftissuesaward

Posted on 6th November 2010 in book review/ books that made me cry/ five people you meet in heaven/ meme/ mitch albom/ one day/ the box of tissues award/ the gargoyle/ tony parsons/ tuesdays with morrie

I bring you “The Box of Tissues Award”.  Has anyone done this already?

I’m sure I’ll have it pointed out to me very soon that they have. In the meantime I’ll plead ignorance and plough ahead.

The rules of my #meme are as follows:

• Fess up to 5 books that have made you cry

• Thank the nice person who gave you ‘The Box of Tissues Award’

• Link back to me

• Nominate 5 new people to pass the award onto


FIVE BOOKS THAT HAVE MADE ME CRY

1. One Day – by David Nicholls

Although, yes, I did just rant about this book in my review of it…. It did make me cry.

2. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – by Mitch Albom

Tiny little book. I bought my copy in New York because I loved the rough unfinished edges on the pages. I didn’t know anything about it, just liked the feel of the thing. When I read it I was blown away by how much it affected me.

3. Tuesdays With Morrie – by Mitch Albom

I bought Tuesdays With Morrie because I was so touched by The Five People You Meet In Heaven. It is another tiny little book which rips through your defences and leaves you blubbing – I read most pages with a running internal monologue of ‘I will not cry, I will not cry’ I failed miserably. I won’t let my OH read this book as I think it would destroy him. Funnily enough his boss said the same thing to him the other day.

4. Everything ever written by Tony Parsons

I haven’t read anything by Mr Parsons for ages, but I just love the way he writes and how he seems to know all of my inner secrets.

5. The Gargoyle – by Andrew Davidson

Lovely book, very long, a bit odd at times but steeped in romance.

I hope that the following fellow bloggers will accept the #meme and tell me the 5 books that made them cry:

@himupnorth

@metajugglamum

@thejellymmonster

@singledadsdiary

@livingwithkids

@Kateab

Yes I know that is 6 people, I’m playing the odds! And if twitter ever lets me rejoin the party then I’ll be able to let you all know that you’ve been tagged too!

Taking a risk on @livingwithkids as I’m sure she’ll be quick to tell me this meme already exists!

If @singledadsdiary is feeling particularly lovely please could he paintbucket my image thing and let me have the coding so that I can look as though I know what I’m doing? 😉

Romantic Disappointment #OneDay

Posted on 6th November 2010 in book review/ david nicholls/ one day

If you haven’t already read ONE DAY – please be aware that this blog post is one dirty great big #spoiler – you’ve been warned.

I heard that One Day by David Nicholls was meant to be a great romantic novel.

It had all the right components, ‘2 people, 20 years, one day’ – bit of bad timing, separation, both each wanting the other, not brave enough to confront it, ending up with other people – but would they, could they end up together? It was all there. It had promise.

I like a bit of romance. Don’t usually read romantic novels as a rule but secretly I’m a sucker for romantic nonsense. I adored the ‘staring intensely’ in Twilight, all that gazing into each other’s eyes *sigh*.

I actually bought this book for my stepmum, who has read it and now given it to me to read. I probably would never have bought it to read myself.

So I geared myself up for a soul searching read that would sweep me off my feet in a flurry of unrequited love, steamy moments, aching hearts and  pent up emotions. Fully expecting a book so drenched in perfect romance that I would look at my own relationship and say ‘meh’.

Having finished the book I am cross. Yes, cross. Romantic my arse. I waded through the first few chapters, they were the build up, the bits where the couple ‘missed’ each other. The girl clearly adored the boy. The boy was a bit arrogant, a serial shagger who invested too much time and money into women, wine and coke.

The girl had a ‘safe’ but unsatisfactory relationship with someone else.

The boy ended up marrying someone and having a baby.

All the while they kept in touch – yet never quite actually acknowledged that they wanted each other. WHY?!

There was a glimmer of hope at one point where the boy did actually acknowledge that it ‘had always been the girl, always had, always would be’ but by the time that came I was already a bit miffed at quite how long it had taken him to realise – and that he’d only realised it once his tv career had faded, he’d stuffed up a million other relationships and got a failed marriage under his belt.

But, just to add insult to injury, when they do finally get it together. They can’t conceive which puts a strain on their relationship.

And then, ready for this?

She dies.

Yes, she dies, leaving him a mess at age 40 something.

Where is the bloody message in that?!

Rant over.

I did however think it was well written – maybe it was my expectation of the book that was at fault rather than the book itself?

Life’s too short huh.

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