Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott #BlogTour #BookReview

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the excellent ‘Dear Mr Pop Star’ by Derek and Dave Philpott

 

mrpopstar

  Amazon

What they say:

A collection of hilarious letters to iconic pop and rock stars with fantastic in-on-the-joke replies from the artists themselves: Eurythmics, Heaven 17, Deep Purple, Devo, Dr. Hook and many, many more…

For more than a decade, Derek Philpott and his son, Dave, have been writing deliberately deranged letters to pop stars from the 1960s to the 90s to take issue with the lyrics of some of their best-known songs. They miss the point as often as they hit it.

But then, to their great surprise, the pop stars started writing back…

Dear Mr Pop Star contains 100 of Derek and Dave’s greatest hits, including correspondence with Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T’Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung, EMF, Mott the Hoople, Heaven 17, Jesus Jones, Johnny Hates Jazz, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Chesney Hawkes and many, many more.

Derek and Dave Philpott are the noms de plume of two ordinary members of the public, working with help from a worldwide social networking community.

The Review: Okay so originally when I heard the concept of this I was very excited as music and in particular pop is very much up my street, but then was worried when I heard the names of the artists and bands involved. Little did I know that actually, I knew a lot more than I had thought, as in the book I started to realise I didn’t know the names of the bands but knew their work, or more to the point, their songs  and soon got googling to find out a bit more about some of the artists too!

Totally digressing here. So the concept is that the authors sent off letters to a group of bands/ singers and collated them, but not before they received replies from a good deal of them! The letters are pretty much tongue-in-cheek and ask questions such as (paraphrasing here) how can a city be built on rock and roll? Did they mean Devon and not heaven in a certain 80’s track? and a billion more.

I’ll admit there’s times I’m a bit slow in terms of figuring stuff out, and I had to read and re-read a few of them to figure out what they meant, but it was all in an enjoyable way! I properly properly laughed out loud throughout this book, and was gutted at the non replies, especially since so many of the people who did bother to reply were as smart, ironic and hilarious back. The format is basically as it sounds, letter then reply, then letter, then maybe another letter where the artist never got back to this excellent team of father and son. All in all a great book, totally totally up my street and one I’d definitely recommend for a Christmas/ Mother/Father’s day present.

Thanks so much to the authors and Unbound for the book in return for an honest review

Rating: 5/5

Connect with the authors

@DerekPhilpott   Twitter

 

Now how about you follow the tour? (I’d definitely advise it, very interesting stuff!)

Blog Tour Flyer Mr Pop Star

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THE HOLIDAY CRUISE by VICTORIA COOKE

Today I’m excited to be part of the book birthday blitz for The Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke:)

thumbnail_The Holiday Cruise

thumbnail_The Holiday Cruise Cover

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What they say: 

As if it weren’t enough to be cheated on by her husband of ten years, Yorkshire lass Hannah Davis is losing her beauty salon business too. Luckily, her big sister is there to pick up the pieces, but Hannah is desperate to find some independence.

Impulsively, Hannah applies for a spa job…on a cruise ship! Christmas in the Caribbean, springtime in the Mediterranean, what’s not to like? But, despite being in her thirties, Hannah has never done anything on her own before, and she’s terrified.

As the ship sets sail, Hannah has never been further from home…or closer to discovering who she is and who she wants to be. 

The Review: I have to admit when I heard the blurb for this I was excited to review as it sounded very different to anything I’d read- a cruise ship sounds like a great place to get away from your troubles! I also loved that her job would be in a spa so we could sample some of the more decadent things, as opposed to her struggling to survive (sometimes when you’re up for a bit of holiday escapism, you want the works!).  I’ll admit I didn’t always get on with this book, for me it was a case of picking it up and putting it down a fair bit more than I’d have liked and I think it was Hannah’s character that did it, we just didn’t click. There was also some repetition of words and editing issues that the pernickety side of me would’t let go of, but I doubt this would be a problem for most.

The cast around Hannah pulled me in, as did the settings, not only on board but also when they visited the places they stopped at and I got to experience all the different countries. The group dynamic of the people that worked on the ship was well done, and I crossed my fingers for them all. I adored the ending, which was very satisfying. I have to add that the me from ten years ago would have devoured and ingested this book in one go, it really ticks all the boxes for a light enjoyable read and one that is great for, not just holiday escapism, but for any time of the year escapism. Thanks so much to Rachel’s Random Resources for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

About the author

thumbnail_Victoria Cooke Image

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016

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No Safe Place (Detective Lottie Parker Series Book 4) by Patricia Gibney

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Length: 440 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: There’s nothing more dangerous than a familiar face…

As funeral mourners stand in silence at Ragmullin cemetery, a deafening cry cuts through the air. Lying crumpled at the bottom of an open grave is the bloodied body of a young woman, and Detective Lottie Parker is called in to investigate.

Knowing the body can’t have been there long, Lottie wonders if it could be Elizabeth Bryne, a young woman who vanished without trace just days earlier. And with a new boss who seems to have it in for her, Lottie is under pressure to solve both cases quickly.

As two more women go missing from Ragmullin, Lottie and her team fear there is a serial killer on the loose. And the disappearances are strikingly similar to a cold case from ten years earlier. Could history be repeating itself?

As journalists begin to interfere with Lottie’s investigation, she fears the killer is about to strike again. Lottie is in a race against time to find the missing women, but the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Lottie be his next target?

If you love Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza and Rachel Abbott, you’ll love the latest pulse-pounding thriller from Patricia Gibney. No Safe Place will keep you guessing until the very last page.

The Review: I suppose I should start by sending you to previous gushes about this, the Detective Lottie Parker Series: Book 1 here, book 2 here, book 3 here . All three books I raced through, gobbling up every-single-word. I’ll be honest, I don’t even know how to begin this review. This was without doubt my favourite of the Lottie Parker series. I’m pretty sure that i haven’t said that before and if I have apologies but I honestly cannot think of how it can. And breeaathe.

Okay, so we begin, as you do, with a young girl running through a graveyard, trying to get away from someone. What happens next of course, I can’t tell you but I can tell you it’s been done before (and not just in my nightmares as a child), but never this well! I was shocked and sat up straight and then ran out of the room to get snacks as I knew I was in for the long haul. So with what just happened (read the book), you’d really expect that the next thing would be that this the DI Lottie Parker heads off looking for this particular person but no, the way this book is done, as you look at it with the unforgettable team at Ragmullin, there is nothing to look for, only a whole lot of local tales (special mention to the first witness, what an amazing lady!) and thoughts and speculation on people who are missing.

There are a lot of characters in this book but they are all easily traceable and trackable, you remember each of the missing women through encounters both on and after their train journeys, you remember the suspects through their quirks and attitudes, the police force are of course always unforgettable and very entertaining. There were some changes in the usual faces, most notably with Superintendent Corrigan, and I hoped upon hope that it wasn’t the end for a character that I always look forward to hearing.I loved getting to know some new characters, in particular a viper of a reporter whose making life difficult for Lottie and on a fully different spectrum, the lovely Grace who defin superseded any relations they usually arrive in books to make things difficult for a character. I loved Grace and was excited at her involvement which meant more air time for Boyd who  I also adore.The baddie came in the form of a stranger who we hear on the train and who is worrying in his thoughts throughout the book.

There are of course a few unlikeables scattered throughout and at many times there were boulders in my stomach as I watched women being stalked on the train and then was passed over to suspects homes, where things were as dark and worrying.

There were shocks and tragedies of ASTRONOMICAL proportions and at one stage I found myself cursing out loud in surprise. As said above this is my favourite book in the series. I may have said this for other books (I don’t think I have), but without a doubt it really is, pacing, setting, thrills, spills, shocks, tragedies and some very magnetic off kilter romance. Exceptional. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Bookouture for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

Dinner Party by Tracy Bloom

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Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Never has an unexpected guest caused such chaos!

Three couples take it in turns to host a monthly dinner party.

Beth, Sarah and Marie have been friends forever. Now they are grown up, with busy lives, busy husbands, busy kids… but they still find time to meet up over dinner once a month. A cosy, comfortable gathering of happy couples – or so they thought.

Until one night, someone brings along a last-minute guest whose wife has just left him.

Simon is standing on the doorstep in floods of tears. While the women do their best to console him, their husbands feel the need to mark their territory.

And as Simon becomes more involved with the group, his presence changes everything these three couples thought they knew about each other, leading to a final dinner party that no-one will ever forget.

From Amazon chart bestseller Tracy Bloom, Dinner Party is a funny and moving read that will make you see your marriage and friendships in a whole new light… and make you think twice about inviting your best mates round for dinner. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes, Nick Spalding and Gill Sims.

The Review: So I reviewed The Last Laugh only the other day but I felt the need to get straight to this, The Dinner Party, which sounded like exactly what I was int he mood for. And it totally was! Sorry to tell you but the link will lead you to a pre-order link, so you’ve a little bit to wait before its release, but I think, at that time of the year, ie end September, a comedy such as this will be a treat to randomly arrive into your Kindle in-box, so I’m thinking of you here;)

As you see above, Beth, Sarah and Marie are old friends, but ones that don’t catch up that often anymore. There may be a reason for this as we are given three very different women, all with their own insecurities and all with ranging personalities. The book leans more towards Beth than the others, but we are nicely put into the shoes of the others and, in a nice twist, we get to meet their husbands too. Now I know people who read my reviews are about to say ‘oh no, here we go again,’ but it has to be done. I love love love multiple povs and a cast of characters that’s done well and they most definitely are here! Depending on your personality you’ll empathise with different people, but I have to say that the people I considered bang on were the husbands, and in particular Chris and Duncan. The women, on the whole, weren’t really my cup of tea and I have to say I was so disappointed that I leaned towards a full on dislike of Beth and could not get what everyone was saying about her being so amazing. Beth was one of these people who decided that everyone only saw her for her weight, and we heard about it very regularly. We were constantly told how lovely and helpful she was, but actually all I saw was someone who was meddling and way too critical of everyone else. Her blurts were mean and cruel at times and I got a bit tired of everyone acting like it was endearing that she was so upfront. Marie, was an, um interesting character, obsessed with how she looked and Sarah, well actually I loved Sarah who was having a crisis of confidence of her own.

The guys were brilliantly done, from Chris, who was so underappreciated, to Duncan who reminded me of one of the side characters in Notting Hill to Tony who played his role to a tee! Then there was Simon, lovely Simon, who I nodded along with. I loved the concepts of the dinner party and laughed along with the guys as they were aghast at all the etiquette involved (reminds me of previous rants I’ve had on how things have gone so crazy in terms of food and drink, how Gin and Wine are treated as if they’re not alcohol, breadsticks are acceptable while your sliced pan isn’t, people use the term ‘pan-fried’ and ‘rustic’ to make things sound posher -that sort of thing!) and the comedy flowed along. I’ll admit that (in the same way someone on eg the X Factor might give someone who sings like Leona Lewis a bit of advice-they know she’s the best at what she does but it’s just a little aside), the ending was a bit rushed or something, I’m not quite sure what it was, but I felt it could have been a bit more neatly parceled, and I think Duncan’s story could have flowed a little bit more and been rounded up nicer so we saw it happening, but as I’ve just said, this is just an opinion and all in all I loved this book. Very much recommended. Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

Whistle In The Dark by Emma Healey

whisteleLength: 336 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed. The once-happy, loving family returns to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.
With her daughter increasingly becoming a stranger, Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days. But will Lana ever reveal what happened?

The Review: I have to admit that ‘Elizabeth Is Missing’ was one of the first books I bought as a blogger and I never got to it. A crime in itself and something I need to fix asap. Also, if we’re talking about firsts, the first thing I had to do when looking up THIS book on Amazon was to check what it was listed under as I was intrigued to see how they could categorise a book that seemed to have a little bit of everything. As expected (in hindsight of course!) it was under Mystery, thriller and suspense, detective and animal. We’ll put the ‘animal’ listing to one side, I would think that it is more nature than animal, with a book that is absolutely stunning in how it tells us about our surroundings, from birds to trees to caves to where we came from, with beauty underlining every single word, but the mystery and suspense are a good start for telling you about this book.

We get a third person point of view from Jen, a mother who’s trying get on with everyday life while wondering where her daughter disappeared to for four days when they went on their art retreat together. Jen and her husband, Hugh are possibly the nicest people I’ve come across in a book and their relationship was comforting among the everyday struggle that Jen has to contend with Lana, who is barely existing and taking it all out on her mother.

In any other scenario, Lana was the nightmare teen, but here it was justified-you couldn’t even begin to comprehend what she was going through and this was something that Jen had to try to unravel. They had no idea where she was for four whole days, having been found in a state on sheep grazing land, dehydrated and a shadow of her former self. Jen feels that by figuring out the content of these four days, perhaps they can get some semblance of her daughter back before they lose her for good and tries to trace the details of the days. We sleepwalk with her as her infatuation begins to turn to madness and she no longer knows what is real. The book is told almost like a series of stories pieced together, with headings to guide you along Jen’s journey. There is a nice mix of the everyday and the strange, some comedy thrown in (dark and light, have to say I loved their other daughter, Meg, a sardonic breath of fresh air), with dark moments mixed with beautiful spell binding ones, always leading back to a book I had to keep putting down so I could savour and relish it properly. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Viking for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Cornish Village School-Breaking the rules (Cornish Village School book 1) by Kitty Wilson

thecornishvillageschool

Length: 265 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Rosy Winter is definitely not looking for love

Following heartbreak, Rosy has rebuilt her life in the beautiful Cornish village of Penmenna. Now, headmistress of the local school, she is living by The Rule: no dating anyone in the village. Easy right? But Rosy Winter has a new neighbour, handsome gardener Matt.

In Penmenna for his new gardening TV show, this guy next door will do everything he can to persuade her to break her rule and win her heart. Meanwhile, Penmenna Village School is threatened with closure and it’s up to Rosy to rally the local community and #SaveOurSchool. Can she bring her worlds together and accept help from the most unlikely of sources? One thing’s for sure… she won’t be giving up without a fight.

This heartwarming romance is perfect for fans of Tilly Tennant, Holly Martin and A. L. Michael.

The Review: And now to another standout book! The blurb tells you everything here-Rosy Winter is a headmistress living in the lovely village of Penmenna. I was taken with Rosy at the start as she sped, without speeding ie trying not to knock anyone down, to get to a meeting. When I say I was taken, the book had me straight away, with a character that seemed to be so in control but so likeable too. And then she went and met another character that screamed ‘I want to get to know him,’ that of Matt, who was introduced to us in a case of mistaken identity.

When a number of schools in the area are tagged to be merged, the people of Penmenna must act to save the school. Cue some excellent characters that at times were completely inappropriate and a group of kids that made me think ‘awwww!’ The settings were gorgeous, the comedy sometimes very understated but extremely well done, the mix-ups smile and nodworthy and romance that I really enjoyed. Highly recommended and I can’t wait to read the next in this series. Thanks sooooooooo (you get it by now I say;)) much to Canelo and Netgalley for this excellent book in return for an honest (and gushy) review.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom

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Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair…

Frankly, she had enough on her plate already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago.

And now this. Enough is enough! Jenny vows to keep both revelations a secret. She takes her life into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

The Review: I have to admit I put this book off and off (very oddly as I agpred Ms. Bloom’s ‘No On Has Sex on Christmas day’ read review  here

). I dreaded the fact that most people seemed to be laughing through the tears, and had had a few weeks of tough things happening to all of those around me, and this coupled with a lack of sleep had left me both fragile and not feeling very ‘me.’

The odd thing, so, was that I should choose the ten year anniversary of my dad’s death and a weekend of knocks and bumps in general to say ‘eff it’ and read both this and The Happiness List by Annie Lyons (another excellent book- read the review here ). Maybe I thought I was all cried out. Maybe I was challenging myself. Either way I’m so happy I read both. But enough about me-this is all about Emma. Lovely Emma who we meet first in the prologue on the 25th June 1996 in Bataria Beach Kassiopi in Corfu, where she is celebrating her 25th birthday and having the time of her life. It actually is the time of her life because fast forward to present time and she uses that day as a placemark for when she was at her happiest. The prologue leads you with a one-liner that says ‘boom! You’re in for one hell of a ride!’ (It doesn’t ACTUALLY say this, but you know what I mean).

Now, twenty years later she’s at her birthday dinner and it isn’t quite as special. We get the impression that the love of her life is the same guy from before, but things aren’t so rosy and Emma has potentially devastating news. This book drops a large cold boulder into your stomach with Emma’s health, her lovely dad’s dementia, a mother who doesn’t realise her daughter’s worth, a daughter who needs a mother and a son who’s growing up. As Emma decides to make the end count, you are met with a cacophony of images that bring you back to your own old friends, your own life, while making you appreciate what you have.  It is fun, funny, beautiful and devastating and reminds me that Tracy Bloom is at the top of the pile for rom com authors. Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5