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Published: 4 May 2017

Description:

When literary reprobate Foster James wakes up in a strange country house, he assumes he’s been consigned to rehab (yet again) by his dwindling band of friends and growing collection of ex-wives.

But he soon realises there’s something a bit different about this place after he gets punched in the face by Ernest Hemingway.

Is Foster dead? Has his less-than-saintly existence finally caught up with him? After an acrimonious group therapy session with Hunter S Thompson, Colette, William Burroughs, and Coleridge, it seems pretty likely. But he still feels alive, especially after an up-close and personal one-on-one session with Dorothy Parker.

When he discovers that the two enigmatic doctors who run the institution are being torn apart by a thwarted love affair, he and the other writers must work together to save something that, for once, is bigger than their own gigantic egos.

This is a love story. It’s for anyone who loves writing and writers. It’s also a story about the strange and terrible love affair between creativity and addiction, told by a charming, selfish bastard who finally confronts his demons in a place that’s part Priory, part Purgatory, and where the wildest fiction can tell the soberest truth.

My Thoughts & Review:

“Dead Writers in Rehab” isn’t the sort of book I would normally pick up, but something about the description of this book grabbed my attention and drew me in, this was a book I needed to read.

This is quite possibly one of the funniest books I’ve read recently, so many times I found I was laughing aloud (much to the displeasure of my husband at 2am), but it is also extremely moving and insightful – a wonderfully powerful combination.  Without rehashing the plot away I will say that each of the residents of the rehab facility is a well known literary figure who is suffering from an addiction, their individual voices are so very crisp and clear, their foibles make for some very entertaining reading,  as do their narratives.
In essence this is a novel about love, the power of it, the struggle with both loving and being loved and it’s redemptive qualities.

The writing is clever and insightful, but it’s also witty and dark.  The idea behind the plot is unique, I cannot think that I’ve seen anything  like this before, perhaps it has been done before and if you know of another book like this then please do let me know.

There are so many parts of this book that I would love to point out for their humour but I would end up quoting most of the book, far too many clever little snippets that I cannot narrow down my favourites.

You can buy your copy of “Dead Writers in Rehab” via:

Amazon
Wordery
The Book Depository

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51euwynaiil

Published: 18 May 2017

 

Description:

LOCAL GIRL SWEPT OFF HER FEET
Mild-mannered publicist Holly Phillips is unlucky in love. She’s embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be ‘Ultimate Man’ – a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day.
But when Holly’s fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn – and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.
Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?

My Thoughts & Review:

There’s just something so lovely about picking up a book by Jenny Colgan, you know from the moment you start reading that there will be laughter and fun as well as a few more serious moments.
“Spandex and the City” is wonderfully humorous from the opening chapter, poor Holly Phillips finding her chances of a love life aren’t helped by having her knickers splashed over the front pages and on social media.  Her night starts innocently enough, a much needed night out with her best friend Gertie when a band of masked robbers descend upon the bar and demand valuables, phones etc.  These raids aren’t the first that the town has endured and without fail the local superhero Ultimate Man is soon in the vicinity to save the day, unfortunately when he rescues the damsel in distress (or distressing damsel) he throws her over his shoulder to lead her to safety not realising her knickers are on show for all to see.  Holly is mortified when people recognise her face in the picture and attracts some unwanted attention because of this.

The raids continue across the town, and as luck would have it Holly usually ends up being in the same place, as does Ultimate Man.  The pair share a few conversation at their unplanned rendezvous, and from there a budding romance of sorts forms.

“Spandex and the City” is different from Colgan’s other novels, yes there is a love story in here, but there is also a lot more to this novel than some readers may expect.  The superhero and science fiction elements in this novel are well written and it has a feel of an updated superhero tale.  Characterisation is really good, Holly is a funny and charming character that oozes warmth and humour.  Her exchanges with her best friend Gertie as well as those with Ultimate Man are wonderfully crafted and very enjoyable.  Ultimate Man is a little bit of an enigma, very alluring and interesting but I have to agree with Holly’s remarks about his name, it doesn’t sound the greatest!  The evil mastermind was a fantastic character, one with many sides it would seem but how many of them were true?

A lovely light hearted read with plenty of laughter – just what I’ve come to know and love from Jenny Colgan!

My thanks to Hayley Camis for recommending this book and inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

You can buy a copy of “Spandex and the City” via:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Wordery

 

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Published: 30 January 2017
Reviewed: 30 December 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Cranachan Publishing in return for an honest review

 

Description:

An eight-year-old girl and her granpa are on the run…

“When me and Granpa watched James Bond films, he told me not to be scared because people didn’t have guns like that in Scotland. That must’ve been why the robbers used hammers.”

Orphaned Mary lives with her granpa, but after he is mixed up in a robbery at the bookies where he works, they flee to the Isle of Skye. Gradually, Mary realises that her granpa is involved. And the robbers are coming after him–and their money.

Mary’s quirky outlook on life, loss, and her love of all things Elvis, will capture your heart. Full of witty Scots banter, Mary’s the Name will have you reaching for the hankies, first with laughter, then with tears.

Heart-warming and heart-breaking, this darkly comic debut is from a fresh voice set to become Scotland’s answer to Roddy Doyle.

My Thoughts & Review:

From the very moment I heard about this book I knew it would instantly be added to my wish list, it sounded funny but sad, warm yet dark and seeing as I have a soft spot for Scottish books and independent publishers there was no chance I would be missing out on reading this book.

“Mary’s The Name” is a special book and one I will revisit before the year is out, there’s just something so lovely about the plot, the characters and the style of writing that feels ‘just right’ for me and I could happily read it again despite knowing what happens.  Why?  Because quite simply it touches the heart of a reader and leaves you wanting more.  Allow me to explain….

Our main wee lassie Mary is eight, she has the innocence and naivety befitting her years but yet she has profound moments of startling clarity that most adults would struggle to maintain.  Her views on life are simple, bad people do bad things, and good people do good things.
Using Mary as the narrator allows Ross Sayers to explore the topics of love, loss and life through the eyes of an eight year old, giving the reader an insight into a mindset they might not have encountered.  Doing this does not make certain subjects less emotive or heart breaking, I would say it makes them even more so because you experience them through Mary’s eyes, but seeing her tenacity and determination to keep going is rewarding.

The use of local dialect in this is utterly fantastic, I absolutely loved reading the dialogue between Mary and her Granpa, often chuckling out loud at bits because so much of Mary’s stubborn streak reminded me of someone.  The vernacular added an authenticity to this, as did incorporating aspects of historical information from Skye.
Ross Sayers has a gift for making the settings of his book come alive, having been to Skye I can honestly say that I was fondly remembering the main street in Portree from the vivid descriptions in “Mary’s The Name”, seeing the views that were mentioned as Mary explored her new surroundings.  It felt obvious to me that the author had spent time researching the settings for his book and had taken great effort to recreate this through his writing.

The pace of the book is perfect, it’s the sort of book that you could read in a day if you got peace and quiet.  The style of writing is easy and enjoyable to read, the story flows well and you can’t help but get swept away by it.

If you want to read something funny, heart warming, heart breaking and full of reference to Elvis then this is the book for you, just make sure you have plenty tissues before you start because it’s not a book you want to put down!

You can buy a copy of “Mary’s The Name” here.

Oh one last thing – check out the way Ross Sayers was promoting his book, if that’s not inventive and groundbreaking I don’t know what is!

About the Author:

Ross Sayers is a writer of Scottish fiction, and his debut novel, ‘Mary’s the Name’, is released January 30th 2017.

Ross graduated from the University of Stirling in 2014, with a BA (Hons) in English Studies (first class), and graduated again in 2015 with an M.Litt in Creative Writing (distinction).

His stories and poems have featured in magazines such as Quotidian and Octavius, and his short story, ‘Dancin’ is currently used on West College Scotland’s Higher English course.

You can tweet him @Sayers33 or see more of his writing at rosssayers.co.uk.

 

 

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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:

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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! 

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Published: 15 December 2016
Reviewed: 11 January 2017

4 out of 5 stars

Copy provided by Headline

 

Description:

Join Izzy on her journey from January blues to joy. THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life’s magic – all thanks to one little word: yes. Fans of Lindsey Kelk, Mhairi McFarlane and Lucy-Anne Holmes, you’re in for a real treat.

The first of four exclusive part-serialisations of THE YEAR OF SAYING YES by Hannah Doyle.

Dear Readers

It’s drizzling outside, which totally matches my #currentmood. Pigs in blankets, all the mince pies and a festive Baileys or five are distant memories. You know the drill – it’s January. Everyone’s banning booze (terrible idea) or cutting carbs (impossible). To add to the misery pile, my plans to seduce the man of my dreams at the stroke of midnight flopped spectacularly.

I’m Izzy. I don’t just need a New Year resolution, I need a whole new life. And I need YOU. My dreary life is about to get a total makeover – it’s my ‘Year of Saying Yes’. And this is where you come in. It’s up to you to #DareIzzy. I’m saying yes to your challenges, no matter how nuts, adventurous or wild they are. The sky’s the limit – I’m at your mercy, readers!

Wish me luck. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

Love

Izzy x

Don’t miss Part 2 of Izzy’s adventure, where Izzy is challenged to ask a total stranger for his number, pose naked for a life drawing class and, wait for it… perform at Glastonbury!

My Thoughts & Review:

Initially I was hesitant to read this, when I see that a book is split into smaller editions I would steer clear and wait until all of them have been published so I can read them back to back or wait to see if they are grouped into one book, but when this popped through the letterbox I was intrigued.  The description sparked my interest and before I knew it I’d read almost half of the novella in one sitting.  Thankfully part two is out 12th January (so if scheduling has worked then it’s out TODAY!  *dashes to Amazon to buy next instalment*)

Izzy is a fun character, she’s one that many readers will be able to relate to and share in her misery (and have a few giggles) when life throws her a curve ball.  The supporting characters so far seem to be likeable and realistic.

Hannah Doyle writes beautifully, the flow of her writing pulls the reader in and ensures they are entertained the whole way through, the wit and humour in her writing giving you no option but to fall in love with the book and characters.

You can buy a copy of The Year of Saying Yes Part 1 here  and then join me in buying Part 2 straight after!

 

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Published: 10 November 2016
Reviewed: 18 December 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by HQ Digital as part of blog tour

 

Description:

This Christmas pantomime is about to be the talk of the town!
 
Luna Bay’s festive preparations are well under way and the much anticipated annual pantomime is to be, once again, the highlight of the season. Too bad that the village’s very own actress and darling of Broadway, Alice Woods, isn’t feeling in the mood for Christmas.
Until the pantomime comes under threat and a grief-stricken Alice is forced to push her personal pain aside and step up to direct – after all, the show must go on…
So with (more than) a little help from her new found friends, not to mention one very gorgeous Hollywood A-list celebrity, the play begins to come together, but will Alice finally believe that Christmas is a time for miracles after all?
My Thoughts & Review:
I’ve been a fan on the Luna Bay series written by Lynsey James since the beginning and I honestly think that the books get better each time, there’s a lovely cosy warmth in Lynsey’s writing that envelopes you while you read her books and the festive spirit in this one makes it the perfect read in the build up to Christmas.
I should stress that this can be read as a stand alone, although Alice did appear in The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club this is her story.
She has returned to Luna Bay after a very successful career on Broadway, broken hearted and hoping to stay under the radar.  Her mother has other ideas and gets her involved in the local pantomime (albeit reluctantly), where she meets a colourful array of characters including Christabel the pantomime director.  None of this does much to help lift Alice’s spirits in the beginning but soon she has some wonderful ideas to help the performance.
As always, the characters are wonderful creations, so lifelike and relatable.  Alice is a character most readers will instantly take into their hearts, her sadness is almost heart wrenching to read and I wished I could give her a hug and a cuppa to try and help her.  Christabel is a character we have all encountered at some point I would reckon, she’s fiercely proud but her enthusiasm seems to get in the way end things end up in a bit of a fluster (or mess).  It was lovely to see old friends like Emma and Lucy from previous novels, so nice to have that little bit of life moving on for readers of the series.
The ease at which Lynsey James transports her readers into the book means that you can almost see what’s going on and I really wish I could have seen Alice’s ideas for the pantomime as the mental images conjured were wonderful.
Well paced, this was a quick and enjoyable read just like the previous books.
You can buy a copy of The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime here.

About the Author:

Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She’s an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she’s sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left my job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since.

When Lynsey’s not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she’s daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

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I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for the hilariously funny mystery ‘Who Killed the Mince Spy?’ and share a post written by Matthew Redford.

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Description:
Tenacious carrot, detective inspector Willie Wortell is back to reveal the deviously delicious mind behind the crime of the festive season in this hugely entertaining, and utterly unconventional, short story. 

When Mitchell the Mince Spy is horrifically murdered by being over baked in a fan oven, it falls to the Food Related Crime team to investigate this heinous act.

Why was Mitchell killed? Who is the mysterious man with a long white beard and why does he carry a syringe? Why is it that the death of a mince spy smells so good?  

Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, the best food sapiens police officer, once again leads his team into a series of crazy escapades. Supported by his able homo sapiens sergeant Dorothy Knox and his

less able fruit officers Oranges and Lemons, they encounter Snow White and the seven dwarf cabbages as well as having a run in with the food sapiens secret service, MI GasMark5.

With a thigh slap here, and a thigh slap there, the team know Christmas is coming as the upper classes are acting strangely – why else would there be lords a leaping, ladies dancing and maids a milking?

And if that wasn’t enough, the Government Minister for the Department of Fisheries, Agriculture and Rural Trade (DAFaRT) has only gone and given the turkeys a vote on whether they are for or against Christmas.   

Let the madness begin!

This short story by Matthew Redford follows his deliciously irreverent debut Addicted To Death (Clink Street Publishing, 2015).

You can buy a copy of Who Killed The Mince Spy here

About the Author:

Born in 1980, Matthew Redford grew up with his parents and elder brother on a council estate in Bermondsey, south-east London. He now lives in Longfield, Kent, takes masochistic pleasure in watching his favourite football team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, is a keen chess player and is planning future food related crime novels.  To counterbalance the quirkiness of his crime fiction Redford is an accountant. His unconventional debut crime thriller, Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation was published by Clink Street Publishing last summer.

Website – http://www.matthewredford.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/matthew_redford


Guest Post:

It is a pleasure to be asked to write a guest blog for your site and I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to a section of community who are often overlooked and ignored when it comes to crime fiction. They have their own police division, who in fact, despite mishaps occurring during when investigating cases, actually have an excellent rate of solving crimes. This community are intelligent, diverse and frankly, decent upstanding members of the neighbourhood – in the main anyway.

Yes, of course, I am talking about food sapiens. Now before you wonder who on earth I am rambling on about, I am referring to genetically modified food sapiens which scientists discovered started to breathe independently, before developing the ability to think, speak and interact with homo sapiens. And when the Government realised that you could release food sapiens from captivity into the wider world and then charge them taxes, they jumped at the chance. So if you fancy reading some interesting legislation – and let’s be honest who wouldn’t – try looking up the Genetically Modified Food Sapiens Act 1955.

Now, back to the crime fiction world. The Food Related Crime team of the police force were busy working away solving crimes and yet nobody ever wrote up their cases. Which is why I decided to champion their cause.

Let’s look at the facts here. Little old ladies can point towards Miss Marple. Folk from Belgium can point towards Hercule Poirot in fact, they can even claim TinTin as one of their own if they put their minds to it. I want to pose a question. Would the crime fiction world have been as interested if the little old lady was actually Miss Marble Cake? Personally, I think not.

Now the Food Related Crime team is led by Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot, and the most successful food sapiens police officer of his generation. He is supported by Dorothy Knox, his homo sapiens sergeant who seems to be the glue that holds the team together during their investigations, which are at best, haphazard. And then of course, there are Oranges and Lemons, the two fruit officers who are, well, being polite, a bit of a hindrance. But their hearts are in the right place and they seem to have a knack of coming good.

Wortel and Dorothy came together a few Christmases back when the psychopath Sammy the Shrimp was terrorising the community resulting in a number of people infected with a tricky case of the crabs. No, not that – get your minds out of the gutter people – infected crab meat. They tracked down Sammy the Shrimp only to see him try and escape on a child’s scooter using his powerful tail to build up speed. He was almost away when some black ice caused him to lose control and he was thrown from the scooter into the shop window of ‘Bamboo can do’ and he was fatally impaled.

Oranges and Lemons joined the team more recently when assisting Wortel and Dorothy in a case document in Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation. This was their most challenging case to date and if you are interested then they would be thrilled (and I would be too!) if you visited Amazon and downloaded the drama.

If you wanted to learn more about food sapiens and the Food Related Crime team, please visit www.matthewredford.com


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for reviews, and more great posts by Matthew!

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