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




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


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


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



My Sisters and Me by Lisa Dickenson


Length: 400 pages

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

What they say: They’re fixing up their childhood home. It’s going to get messy.

When Willow Lake asks her daughters for help renovating the family home, each has a reason to hesitate about returning to Maplewood . . .

For quiet and bookish Emmy going back to the town that ridiculed her fills her with dread.

The youngest Noelle is perfectly comfortable in herself now, but once wanted to fit in so badly that she walked away from her first love. A first love who still lives in Maplewood.

And outspoken Rae is painfully aware of how much the townspeople hurt her little sisters growing up. She didn’t protect them then, but there’s no way she’ll let history repeat itself.

The sisters agree to go home and make the best of it. After all if they’ve changed over the years, it’s possible the townspeople have too . . . isn’t it?

The BRAND NEW feel-good, kick-ass novel about sisterhood and second chances. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk, Mhairi McFarlane and Anna Bell.

The Review: I have to admit something. (Whispers)I’ve never read a Lisa Dickenson novel. I seem to have them all on my Kindle, it’s just, well, you know how it is, the books you buy out of interest seem to get bumped all the time. But no longer. I loved this book! It is the story of three sisters who are deciding to help renovate their childhood home, a kookly Halloween-esque abode just outside the town of Maplewood, where they didn’t have the easiest of upbringings. Turns out the townspeople thought their parents were witches, and spent their time shunning the three very different sisters and trying to get them to leave. Each sister was picked apart and there was bullying and meanness.

So. Some fared better than others and some, including the lovely, timid, bookish Emmy, didn’t fare at all and just about made it out, now relieved to be living far away from it all, working as a robotics engineer for NASA and binge watching Stranger Things on Netflix. I suppose this is where I stop you. Stranger things and a nerdy job? I was so excited! I love modern day comedies and rom coms and chick lit, but the quirks of this book surpassed so much out there, Emmy with her kick ass job, Rae, an out there opera singer with her big bear of a hubby and Noelle an environmental lawyer? What was there not to love? And now, (as I skip off happily onto another tangent), the references? It was like Ms. Dickenson put my whole life into that book! The babysitters club, Point Horror, Aerosmith (I like to think early stuff!), Haribo, Three Men and a Little Lady (and Magnum P.I. and Tom Sellek), Grand Designs, Location Location Location, Sugababes, Buffy, The Hills, Steve Irwin, the magic 8-Ball- I could go on and on. These, added to her charming small town descriptions and atmospheric house – well they had me!

We meet all of the girls, with the book leaning towards Emmy as the lead, and find out the various reasons they didn’t follow the town’s small minded mould, with some excellently done consequences. There are a multitude of characters, some lovely (special mention for the local policeman), some not so much. The romance was perfection, the Halloween party, set to prove something to the town, epic, and I loved the ending.

The book made me smile and laugh the whole way through and I adored that any reminiscing wasn’t out to make you cry. I actually did cry near the end for a reason most people won’t, but it was one of those smiling-laughing hysterically-through-the tears-transported-to-another-time-and-place sort of cry. So not so bad. All in all a book that feels like it was made for me, a magical autumnal feel good book with the right ratio of dramatic baddies to wonderful goodies (they’ve definitely got the right townspeople on their side!), that left me with a warm hug that stayed long after I’d finished reading. Thanks (so so so so) much to Spehere and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey



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

What they say:

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now Emma is gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But what about Emma’s real mother, back at home?

The Review: What a cracker of a book! This is the story of Emma, who is being dragged through life by a mother who’s tired of existing and very bitter with her lot. She has a beautiful daughter who she feels jealous of, she never had the looks or the confidence she sees she has. Enter Sarah. Sarah sees Emma being pulled along and snapped at by her mother. She sees a girl in a dirty dress with a dirty ribbon in her hair and then one day she sees her again and she sees the worst possible thing she can see (oh my word to when you see this day through the mother’s eyes later, it nearly killed me). Sarah is an everyday successful businessperson and is reminded of her own mother and childhood, which was one of sadness and a plan begins to come about.

To start on this book I’m going to take you to the end, where there is an excellent list of questions for book clubs and I found myself going through my own ideas in my head. Because it’s easy to pick a side and then shift, and then shift again. Some people will be more definite-Sarah was saving Emma, and Emma’s mother, Amy, didn’t deserve to have a child, but of course the beauty of this book is that there is no clear cut answer. Sarah has it black and white in her head, she’s the knight saving the princess, but it’s easy for her to think like this when she doesn’t know the daily ins and outs of having children.

I found Sarah to be very tunnel visioned  and focused and in some case deluded and I at times I wondered what other people thought reading this book, people without kids might have a different opinion to those with kids. I’ll keep my opinion to myself but I will say the ending was disappointing to me. I flew through the book with my heart thumping as we chased Sarah and Emma as they evaded the law, her family and work. We also looked into Sarah’s childhood giving us a glimpse of a woman that definitely had issues. What I loved more was the complexities of Amy (special mention for her initial reaction to Emma going which I thought was tragic and showed me who she really is) who I could easily relate to in parts yet feel horrendous regarding her thoughts in others, as she truly didn’t seem to know what being happy was and couldn’t realise what she had. The dynamics of their home life after Emma was gone was spellbinding, both in and outside the house. A special mention to the lovely Emma too, I really felt for her and all her reactions were so well done. I never knew before I had kids how much they react to the moment, how things are clear cut at that precise time-you either love them or are against them and that’s something Sarah would not have been au fait with. Actually I’m going to go, you don’t want my psychoanalysis-just my recommendation. Excellent book and very highly recommended and I look forward to reading the author’s work again . Thanks so much to St Martin’s Press for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

My Husband’s Lies by Caroline England


Length: 384 pages

Please note that the cover leads to an Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

On the afternoon of Nick and Lisa’s wedding, their close friend is found poised on a hotel window ledge, ready to jump.

As the shock hits their friendship group, they soon realise that none of them are being as honest with themselves – or with each other – as they think.

And there are secrets lurking that could destroy everything.
Tense, disturbing and clever, My Husband’s Lies is a breath-taking read, perfect for fans of Lucy Clarke and Erin Kelly.

The Review: There are times I loathe being a book blogger. It means you have to piece together your feelings for a book and how you like it and what you think other people will think of it and sometimes these things aren’t the same. I’m a cover girl. Covers play a HUGE part for me in picking a book, even though I read on a Kindle so the colour and sometimes the graphics are null and void. And so I leapt for this, what looked like a psychological thriller with some form of a murder/ suicide involved. It turned out to be more drama than thriller and left me a little disappointed. I have to admit the telling in present tense third person (as in ‘holding her breath, she crouches down’) put me off a little. It suited the start but then when I read on, I found it off putting, distancing me from what was going on, a group of people enjoying themselves at a wedding until it becomes clear that one of them is about to jump out of a hotel window.

The story itself is seemingly about Penny, who is having doubts about her husband. Given how I thought it would go from the blurb, I would have been happy had it continued with Penny’s story but from here on we are bombarded with characters. I’m a huge fan of character heavy books, but here there were so many and both in terms of voices (as in POV) and the actual dialogue there was just too much and I was confused pretty quickly. I had no descriptions to grab on to and so chose to go with ‘the pregnant one, the one having an affair’ etc. The characters were nearly all unlikable, and again I found myself very distanced from them. Reading may be about moving into another world but having so many people who showed no remorse for the pretentious way they acted just made me sigh. Every character had issues/a backstory which were sometimes sprang on you  and I have to admit at times I rolled my eyes with the introduction both of bad language (use of the ‘c’ word and people using the word piss and sh*t), abuse and drama that hadn’t been alluded to, though in hindsight for example with the mention of the church I should have known. The biggest issue was how well the author wrote, which I know sounds so weird after such an awful review (I honestly do feel bad), but the settings and the vocabulary used were fantastic and made me regret that it was a book I just didn’t warm to and I have to reiterate that others will love it.

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Avon for this book in return for an honest review

Rating: Unfortunately 2.5/5

Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly


Length: 356 pages

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

What they say:

Haven’t we all wanted to pretend everything is fine?

Jane doesn’t like confrontation. Given the choice, she’d prefer to focus on what’s going well, the good things in life.

But when her husband, Leon, is brutally attacked in the driveway of their home, in front of their two young children, Jane has to face reality. As he lies in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, and the secrets that have been kept from her, if she’s to find out who hurt her husband – and why.

Maybe it’s time to face up to it all. Who knows what you might find . . .

The Review: I opened this book, on the day of receiving a rejection letter to see, guess what? A rejection letter! This was the start of our insight into the world of Jane Campbell, who is an author looking for representation for her latest book. She has received none for any of her books to date and it smarts. She’s wondering if this is it for her as she considers a talk she once heard by the great Nick Hornby, who told a lady struggling with rejection (and obviously looking for a ‘keep trying’ comment) that maybe she should just find something different to occupy her time.

Actually if I had one thing that stood out for me with this book, it was that, as a writer, it is not very inspirational. It looks at the struggles of getting published, then the struggles of being published, as her husband Leon is, and all in all paints a very dismal picture, at no time providing the positivity we generally need to keep writing.

Now, as a reader, gosh what a book!(;)) So we are given a shocking start where Jane nips into the house, leaving her husband arguing with a neighbour and returns to find he’s been attacked, with the two children sitting in the back of the car unaware. The book is about Leon’s fight for survival, Jane’s dealing with knowing there’s someone out there who wants to hurt her husband and why, and also coming to turns with a new Leon, who isn’t the loveable bear he was before, while finding out some home truths about their life. I flew through this book, gobbling up every word, being thrown a number of times as I tried to figure out what had happened and jumping when Leon’s demeanor changed. Jane wasn’t the strongest or most likeable character I’ve ever met, and I found the ending wasn’t quite my cup of tea but all in all I really enjoyed and look forward to reading more from the author. Thanks so much to Transworld Digital and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5