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Welcome along to my stop on the blog tour for quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year, “Angels in the Moonlight” by Caimh McDonnell.  I am delighted to be able to share my review of this fantastic book with you, and even more excitingly I have a wee interview with the Caimh too!


Book Feature:

Description: ANGELS IN THE MOONLIGHT cover

For Detective Bunny McGarry, life is complicated, and it is about to get more so.

It’s 1999 and his hard won reputation amongst Dublin’s criminal fraternity, for being a massive pain the backside, is unfortunately shared by his bosses. His partner has a career-threatening gambling problem and, oh yeah, Bunny’s finally been given a crack at the big time. He’s set the task of bringing down the most skilled and ruthless armed robbery gang in Irish history. So the last thing he needs in his life is yet another complication.

Her name is Simone. She is smart, funny, talented and, well, complicated. When her shocking past turns up to threaten her and Bunny’s chance at a future, things get very complicated indeed. If the choice is upholding the law or protecting those he loves, which way will the big fella turn?

Angels in the Moonlight is a standalone prequel to Caimh McDonnell’s critically acclaimed Dublin Trilogy, and it is complicated.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Angels in the Moonlight is a vastly different addition to the Dublin Trilogy in that it features Detective Bunny McGarry in a different light.  Yes, he is still the wise cracking, dangerous looking Cork man.  Yes his behaviour often leaves a lot to be desired, but there is a side to him that betrays the hard man image and it is written so beautifully that readers might forget for a moment who they are reading about.

From the opening pages of this book readers quickly fall into step with the wisecracking and quick witted detective as he takes on the role of negotiator with a vulnerable individual, granted he may not be everyone’s idea of the best person for the role, but he brings his own flair to the situation (as well as some manky sandwiches!) and I soon found I was laughing like a lunatic at what was written on the pages in front of me (a side note, this is perhaps not the best book to read when your other half is sleeping beside you, trying to hold in laughter will cause injury and or choking).

With a gripping and thrilling plot, readers are soon delving into the world of drugs, corruption and vendettas.  DI Fintan O’Rourke and the ever charming Bunny are up against one of the most skilled armed robbery gangs in Ireland, a case that will prove to be one of the most daring and dangerous they’ve worked together.
This case coupled with Bunny’s attempts to woo Simone, a jazz singer come bar manager makes for some brilliantly entertaining reading.  It is through his contact with Simone that we see a distinctly different side to Bunny.  He has a heart, a caring side and a softness about him that he would probably prefer to keep hidden. His coaching of the St Jude’s Hurling Team is a great example of one of the many sides to this character, his devotion to keeping the young lads away from crime is enriching to see, even if his methods are somewhat questionable.  By opening up this side of his main character, Caimh McDonnell takes this book to another level.  Each book of this trilogy has been superb, but there is something special about this one, it is more than just a police procedural, more than a crime caper, it’s a book with themes of friendship, history and heartache intricately interwoven throughout.

As it says above in the blurb, this book can be read as a standalone, but why would you want to deprive yourself of this series?  The writing is tremendous; Caimh McDonnell has a gift for storytelling and leads his readers on a merry journey through his books, regaling them with humour and wit.  The descriptions of each character and their traits allow readers to conjure some wonderfully vivid images, and I know that I’ve a clear idea in my head of Bunny McGarry, both sight and sound.  There are a wonderful array of personalities in this book, even a young Paul Mulchrone and Phil Nellis make an appearance (fans of the previous books will make the connection here), but for me Bunny McGarry stole the show.

 

I would urge you to buy copies of all books in the Dublin Trilogy, it’s a series you do not want to miss out on!

You can buy a copy of “Angels in the Moonlight” via:

Amazon

My absolute heartfelt thanks to Elaine Ofori and Camih McDonnell for the opportunity to read an early copy of this immensely hilarious book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.


Author Feature: caimh

Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

He is a man who wears many hats. As well as being an author, he is an award-winning writer for TV, a stand-up comedian and ‘the voice’ of London Irish rugby club. His debut novel, A Man with One of Those Faces was released in 2016 and it is the first book of the Dublin Trilogy series. The follow-up, The Day That Never Comes was published in 2017. Both books are fast-paced crime thrillers set in Caimh’s home town of Dublin and they are laced with distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

Caimh’s TV writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh’s witterings on @Caimh

Facebook: @CaimhMcD

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

Being in control! For about a decade, I had sitcom scripts optioned by several different TV companies in Britain and you spend your time constantly making changes – some you agree with, some you don’t. Often times, you can find that what originally made an idea attractive to all concerned in the first place, can get lost under the weight of notes about notes. With a novel, while I have editors and readers whose opinion I of course value highly, ultimately, I’m the one in control and I can decide what I think works or doesn’t work. Only a TV writer knows how precious a thing that is.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?  

Being in control! In particular, the proofing stage. Again, I’ve got a couple of great editors and a fantastic proof reader but ultimately as an indie author, you have to be the one to go through the final manuscript and be responsible for every last dotted I and crossed T – and in a 100,000 word novel, there is a lot of them. If I never see another semi-colon, I would die a happy man!

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

Oh, that’s a toughie. I think I’d have to go with Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane – he is a stunningly good writer and for me, I think that is his best work. As a writer, you’re always aware of a plot and predicting where the story is going to go – be it in a novel, TV show or film. It is very hard to switch off and enjoy something without analysing it on some level. The ending of Gone Baby Gone completely blindsided me but at the same time, made perfect sense. It takes a special kind of genius to make an ending seem both surprising and yet feel totally right in hindsight.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

As my wife is always pointing out, I have no hobbies. Everything I like to do I’ve effectively made into a job. I’m still very much a professional comedian which is a nice change of pace from writing, and I’m also the announcer for my second-family, aka the professional rugby team London Irish. As I write, I am just back from our triumphant return to the English premiership in Twickenham. Frankly, that is my favourite thing to do. I get to work with my heroes and while on one level it is stressful, on another level, I’m ultimately not in control of anything. While I announce the scores, I’m not responsible for going out and making them.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

Through trial and error, I’ve discovered I can’t write on my rather lovely Mac with the enormous screen that’s nice and easy to read. I need to work on a laptop, with the internet blocked and Brain.fm’s specially designed music for concentration playing on my headphones. I get distracted very easily so to get the work done, I try and shut myself off from any and all opportunities to forget what I’m supposed to be doing. I do often catch myself casually wondering if I ended up in prison, would they let me have a laptop? If they did – think of all the work I’d get done! I’d miss London Irish though of course, and my wife.

 

A huge thank you to Caimh for joining me today and sharing a little about himself, it’s been a blast!

 

Angels in the Moonlight Poster

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the-day-that-never-comes-cover

Published: 23 January 2017
Reviewed: 17 January 2017

5 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by publisher

 

Description:

Remember those people that destroyed the economy and then cruised off on their yachts? Well guess what – someone is killing them.

Dublin is in the middle of a heat wave and tempers are running high. The Celtic Tiger is well and truly dead, activists have taken over the headquarters of a failed bank, the trial of three unscrupulous property developers teeters on the brink of collapse, and in the midst of all this, along comes a mysterious organisation hell-bent on exacting bloody vengeance in the name of the little guy.

Paul Mulchrone doesn’t care about any of this; he has problems of his own. His newly established detective agency is about to be DOA. One of his partners won’t talk to him for very good reasons and the other has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth for no reason at all. Can he hold it together long enough to figure out what Bunny McGarry’s colourful past has to do with his present absence?

When the law and justice no longer mean the same thing, on which side will you stand?

The Day That Never Comes is the second book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin trilogy, which melds fast-paced action with a distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

My Thoughts & Review:

I have to admit, when the second novel comes out in a series that I’ve fallen in love with I am a little hesitant.  What if the second book is rubbish?  What if the characters have lost their sparkle and interest?  What if….what if….what if?

But my worries were unfounded, Caimh McDonnell has written another cracker of a book, encompassing some of my absolute favourite characters ever to grace our pages and I have to say, I would love to see them cast in real life just to see the hilarity of the situations.
For those not familiar with Caimh’s writing (catch yourselves on and check out the review of “A Man With One Of Those Faces”  and then buy a copy as it’s on special offer right now), it’s a whirlwind of hilarity, catastrophe and sheer madness with characters that are various shades of interesting.

“The Day That Never Comes” continues much in the same tone as book one, Paul Mulchrone has a problem, well quite a few problems, but the four legged, desk defecating Maggie is his main one.  Paul is still as feckless, cynical and a victim to poor judgement.  Brigit Conroy is still a fierce woman, one you’d take on at your peril and Bunny McGarry…..where do I begin with the hurley brandishing, grumpy ex Gardaí?  He’s missing, and no one’s seen him for days.

I’ll not bore you by rehashing the plot, but I will say it’s clever.  There’s a darker feel to this book, the characters have developed from the previous book but retained the key aspects of their respective personalities.  Brigit has definitely fared well, she has become stronger and fierier in the interim.  The way in which she handles herself publicly is confident and takes no nonsense, but she wears her heart on her sleeve when it comes to more personal matters which is endearing really.
Paul is one half of the wonderful comedic duo that features in this book, his friend Phil Nellis is the other.  Poor Phil is ‘that’ friend most of us have had at one point, a bit naive and a wee bit gullible but has a heart of absolute solid gold.  The dynamic between these two characters is sheer brilliance, I could almost imagine them in the pub (with a pint for Maggie), chatting away.  There’s a fantastic quote about Phil that I can’t find now I’m looking for it, but I shall paraphrase (sorry Caimh) “That was the unnerving thing about Phil; he could go from being completely stupid to moments of  brilliance, often in the same breath.”

The pace of the book is perfect, it’s a quick read with plenty satire and moments that will have a reader laughing out loud.  The plot is well crafted and there’s an authenticity that pours from the pages, the subtle nuances are spot on, you can almost hear the accents, experience the cultural aspects all through the innovative use of language.

You can buy your copy of “The Day That Never Comes” in the UK here, and USA here.

About the Author:

caimh_press_pic2

Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

His writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created. He was also a winner in the BBC’s Northern Laffs sitcom writing competition.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh’s witterings on @Caimh


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour (and go back for the ones you’ve missed!) there’s some great reviews, guest posts and a cheeky giveaway! 

the-day-that-never-comes-blog-tour

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Published: 20 October 2016
Reviewed: 21 October 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Sphere / Little, Brown Book Group in return for an honest review

Description:

It’s Christmas in the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne – a time for family, friends and feasting.

Polly Waterford loves running the Little Beach Street Bakery. She’s at her happiest when she’s creating delicious, doughy treats and the festive season always inspires her to bake and knead something extra special for the village residents. In fact, the only thing she loves more than her bakery is curling up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Huckle. She’s determined that this Christmas is going to be their best one yet, but life doesn’t always work out as planned…

When Polly’s best friend Kerensa turns up with a secret that threatens the life Polly and Huckle have built together, the future begins to look uncertain. And then a face from Polly’s past reappears and things become even more complicated. Polly can usually find solace in baking but she has a feeling that’s not going to be enough this time. Can she get things back on track so that everyone has a merry Christmas?

My Thoughts & Review:

As much as I am a fan of crime and psychological thrillers, there’s something about Jenny Colgan’s writing that makes me do a meerkat impression whenever I hear she has a new book coming out and this one was no exception.  Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery is a heartwarminly wonderful slice of Christmas and it sees the return to the beautifully described coastal village of Mount Polbearne.  Even more exciting was “seeing” one of my favourite characters – Neil the puffin.  Yes, ok the other characters are alright too I suppose…..

I should point out that you can read this book as a standalone, if you’re looking to start your Christmas reading list this is an excellent book to include.  You don’t have to read the entire series to make sense of what happens in this book, the who’s who and why etc but with a series as lovely as this why would you want to miss out on the preceding books?  They are Little Beach Street Bakery and Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery.

We are reunited with Polly Waterford who is a great character, with baking skills that would rival any in the tent at the Great British Bake Off I reckon.  She has grown so much over the course of the previous books and the development of her character has been wonderful to watch.  This Christmas all she wants is a quiet time with her boyfriend Huckle, but alas, things never go as planned for her.  Throw in familial issues, friendship worries, trying to save the puffin sanctuary and trying to juggle running a business and it’s only a matter of time before Polly is faced with making some uncomfortable decisions about her present and her future.  The test of her character comes when trying to remain loyal to those she loves and keeping them all from being hurt by revelations that could ruin everything.

I absolutely loved catching up with the residents of the wee village, their stories are intertwined and it’s so lovely to see the community spirit between them all.  The fact that Polly has “pet” puffin living with her and Huckle is so funny and endearing, even more so when Colgan depicts him as such a heat loving, affection giving bird – the idea of  him warming up by the Aga made me chuckle.  I also loved the fact that because he’s overweight Polly and Huckle took him for a walk….expect Neil had other ideas and slept in a backpack.

Jenny Colgan writes with such a wonderful flair, the vivid descriptiveness means the reader can easily visualise the village, the crossing to get over to the island (tide permitting), the people and the mouthwatering bakes that Polly creates.  There is an easy going feel to the narration, almost as if the reader was having a chat with Jenny, the conversational tone really works and makes this such an enjoyable read that you don’t realise how quickly you are reading the book whilst savouring each detail.

The plot is filled with humour, romance, loyalty and friendship.  The festive feel of it all is cozy and uplifting.  It’s the perfect Christmas read!

A huge thank you to Jenny for the recipes at the back of the book, but don’t think that this will let you off the hook for making this the last book in the series!  I will be sad to say goodbye to Mount Polbearne and the villagers – especially Neil but I can honestly say it’s been a real delight to follow such a lovely series.  And it does mean that I will have to move on to Jenny’s next set of books, whatever they shall be!

You can buy a copy of Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery here.

About the Author:

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels – Little Beach Street Bakery and the Top 5 bestseller Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2013. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café was also a Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller, and won the Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance 2012.

Jenny is married with three children and lives in Scotland. For more about Jenny, visit her website and her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @jennycolgan

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Christmas at Lilac Cottage

Author: Holly Martin
Published: 25 September 2015
Reviewed: 19 November 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review.

4 (and a 1/2) out of 5 stars  

 

Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…

Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

Penny Meadows is an instantly likeable character, she lives in a beautifully described cottage with views of the town of White Cliff Bay, and shares her home with her loving, if not slightly crazy dog.  By trade she is an ice carver, an incredibly interesting career which adds to the uniqueness of this character, but most significant about Penny is that she’s alone, lonely and would welcome love.
When Henry and his daughter Daisy move to town and rent the annex of Penny’s cottage she is delighted, she hopes for the idyllic friendship she so longs for and hopes that they will hit it off.  Things don’t always go to plan, moving day is stressful at the best of times, and Henry is in no mood for niceties.

As the story progresses, we Penny’s story comes out, the loss, heartache, the passion she has for her ice carving and how much she cares about her little town.  Henry’s story is equally poignant, how he came to be on his own bringing up Daisy and why he’s to fiercely protective of her.  Penny and Henry have a connection that they cannot ignore, try as they might, they cannot resist each other but can Penny forget her past and move on, allowing herself to be loved and love someone in return?

A cleverly written novel, with narration from both Henry and Penny, gives an insight into what both of the main characters are thinking.  It is especially good when it comes to the gruff, grumpy Henry, who can appear quite standoffish when Penny is narrating.  But once he takes over the reins, you begin to understand that his cool exterior is just a façade and he’d trying to hide his feelings.

The pace of the novel is good, short chapters allow you to quickly move through the story, the dialogue is interesting, funny and entertaining.  The characters in this novel are fantastic, the small town attitude is so well described, everyone knows everyone’s business, but not out of being nosey,  but out of caring.  The descriptions of characters are well thought out and give the reader a feel of just how intensely Penny and Henry look at each other, how strange Penny’s dog looks, how smouldering Henry’s eyes are (amongst other things!!). 
I particularly liked Martin’s writing style when it came to several points in the novel where I laughed out loud, or sat smirking away at the situation that characters were in (Penny buying a toothbrush comes to mind, or explaining what had come on TV late at night to Daisy!).

This is definitely a lovely book to curl up with for Christmas, the sort of book you could easily read in a day if you got the peace and quiet to do so and it’s a genuinely heart warming read.  

I would have no hesitation to recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Romance and Comedy genres.     

I would like to thank Bookouture for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 25th September 2015, a copy can be purchased here Christmas at Lilac Cottage (UK Kindle Version)

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Wish Upon a Christmas Cake

Author: Darcie Boleyn
Published: 02 October 2015
Reviewed: 17 November 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Carina UK  in return for an honest review.

4 (and a 1/2) out of 5 stars  

 

The most wonderful time of the year?

Katie Warham has just one wish this year…to have the best Christmas ever!

If only she could lock herself away in a cloud of flour and sugar at her cosy little tearoom, Crumbtious Cakes, instead of spending the festive season trapped with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and loved-up celebrity brother Karl…

But Katie never expected her ex-boyfriend, widower Sam – and his two adorable children – to turn up on her doorstep. She didn’t think that any man could tempt her under the mistletoe this year, but Sam might just prove the exception! And as the snow begins to fall and Katie puts the final touches to her famous Christmas cake, she begins to wonder, could her Christmas wish actually come true?
Katie and her best friend Ann run Crumbtious Cakes, a small tearoom that has been their shared dream for so many years, it was a way for Katie to move forward after her life fell apart nine years ago following a traumatic loss.  
Now, she has to deal with another loss, her beloved Granny has passed away and now she and the Warham family face their first Christmas without the matriarch.  If this wasn’t enough, Katie knows she will have to face her mother Esther.  She and Esther do not see eye to eye on many things, and Katie fears that her judgemental, over critical mother will make this Christmas hell for her.  But Ann, being her best friends makes a valiant attempt to cheer her friend up, bringing her a slice of their famous Christmas cake (in lieu of a wishbone) to make a wish.
Katie makes it to the Lodge the family are staying at for the Festive period and is startled, shocked and stunned at who she meets when she arrives.  Can it really be him after all these years?  Yes, it’s Sam, her first love, standing there in this wonderfully romantic setting, looking so grown up and handsome.  Katie has to keep her emotions in check, cover her surprise and shock before facing her mother.  Later Katie finds out that Sam is a widower, raising his two children (and dogs) after the tragic death of his wife.  Can Katie resist opening up old wounds and remembering what it was like being in love with Sam, can she avoid physical contact with him to stop her heart skipping?  Might that wish made in the tearoom actually come true?

Second chances are a major part of this novel, can Katie and Sam manage a second chance, will there ever be a second chance for Katie and Esther – will their relationship improve?  Even Ann joins in the theme of second chances with her own dilemma.  All that Katie knows is that she never really fell out of love with Sam and his reappearance in her life has reignited the flames for her, she even feels something towards his children, almost wondering what it would be like if they were hers.    

Family dynamics are wonderfully portrayed, the reader is thrown straight in to the wonderful Warham family, meeting Esther and Charles (Katie’s parents), Karl (her older brother) and his partner Angelo as well as Aunt Gina.  The entertainment of the group being together for Christmas is enjoyable to read, Katie and Karl have a great connection that you can really feel from Boleyn’s writing.  Memories of Granny are well used in this novel to portray what an important character she was for them all, how phrases she used can spark a feeling in someone that kick starts them again.

There were many laugh out loud moments reading this book, comparisons between Santa and Katie were particularly funny (when you get there you will know what I mean, it’s in a conversation with Aunt Gina), so much so, I almost snorted tea!  Little gems like that in the writing really set Boleyn’s work apart from other Christmas reads.  Despite being classed as a romantic novel, this was funny to read to, it was deliciously entertaining to read, and the sort of book you could happily read in one sitting (unless like me you have a toddler that wakes up from a nap and you have to put the book down!).    There’s definitely a feel good factor about this, you desperately want a happy outcome for everyone, you want Katie and Sam to rekindle their love, you want Katie to become stepmother to Sam’s children and for them to have another child together.  You want Katie and her mother to move past the hurt between them and work out things out.  You want Katie’s Christmas wish to come true!

I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys Fiction, Romance and Comedy genres.     

I would like to thank Carina UK for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 2nd October 2015, a copy can be purchased here Wish Upon a Christmas Cake (UK Kindle Version)

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