Tuesday 28 June 2022

On A Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk

On a Night Like ThisOn a Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 342

Publisher - Harper Collins

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Within days of wishing she could change her life, Fran Cooper is acting assistant to a celebrity, on a yacht in the Mediterranean, and en route to a tiny Italian island and the glittering Crystal Ball, along with the world’s rich and famous.

When she – quite literally – bumps into a handsome American called Evan, a man able to keep his cool in the face of chaos, the magic really begins.

Evan makes her a promise: no last names, no life stories, just one unforgettable night. Yet Evan belongs at the Crystal Ball and Fran is a gatecrasher. They may be soulmates, but their homes are an ocean apart, and their lives a world apart. They’ll never meet again – unless, on a night like this, everything can change forever…

My Review

Guys I have been struggling to read both in terms of time and concentration, I have read Kelk before and do enjoy her books. In this one we meet Fran, engaged and been with her partner Stew for 12 years, everything is centred around ease/routine of his life. When Fran is offered an interview for a job, assistant type, with little information on the who and all top secret hush hush she goes for it. Kicking off a whirlwind with looking after a high maintenance celebrity, off on a high class super rich yatch and away from Stew, pals, routine, incommunicado effectively.

So if you want to ditch your current life and bounce into one of babysitting a brat celeb, secrecy, money, madness then put your device down and grab this book. Fran is super relatable because she is like your average everyday type person. A bit of a people pleaser but has drive, loves to do a good job but also very human which finds her getting into a few hilarious and mortifying scrapes.

The celeb lifestyle aspects of the story are very believable, we watch Tiktok, we read the stories/news and Kelk spins it we can absorb and eat up every word and enjoy the ride and riddies as poor Fran scrapes through one disaster to the next. Even at the start when we didn't have much info/contact with Stew I wanted to pan his melt in, I just didn't like the way he was with Fran, I found myself eh RED FLAG RED FLAG MATE but Fran has been living it for 12 years whilst a bit selfish and maybe annoying she accepts things as is. Until she takes the job, she knows he won't be happy but she goes for it anyway *air punch* yas, good for you Fran. I did find myself cheering her on at points, others cringing going oh no no no girl don't do/say that, eeek.

I think that is why Kelk books are so popular, you can sink in, leave your own nonsense behind and soak into someone else's. In this one we get transported to the rich and how the other half live but as Fran is staff it makes it more accessible/relatable for the reader. Humour, disaster, romance, celeb, relationships, friendships - it has a bit of everything and so good to just switch everything off to, 4.5/5 for me.

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Friday 24 June 2022

London in Black by Jack Lutz Blog tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for London In Black, for my stop I have my non spoiler review.

London in BlackLondon in Black by Jack Lutz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 days

Publisher - Pushkin Vertigo

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A tense ticking-bomb suspense thriller for fans of high-concept dystopian fiction such as Hanna Jameson THE LAST or Lauren Beukes' AFTERLAND.


LONDON 2027. Terrorists deploy London Black, a highly sophisticated nerve gas, at Waterloo Station. For the 'Vulnerables', exposure means near-certain death. A lucky few survive, aided by Boost injections.

LONDON 2029. Copy-cat attacks plague the city. DI Lucy Stone, a guilt-ridden Vulnerable, is called to investigate a gruesome murder of a scientist, who might have held the key to an antidote. But is the antidote real?

And can Lucy solve the case before her Boosts stop working, leaving her defenceless once again?

My review

So Di Lucy Stone is a survivor from an attack in London 2027, the time now is 2029. Lucy like other survivors needs to inject herself to keep her levels up as her body has been left "vulnerable" - some are visibly marked after the terror attack, many died. We hear about it back and forth between timelines. Now there has been a murder, someone who worked hard to help the vulnerable, is this what motivated the killing? Lucy investigates the case with her new colleague, fighting against her condition and religious zealots.

So I struggled a bit to start with as Lucy, I get she is/has this horrific after effect and survivor guilt and references to this debt she feels she has and something that happened in her past. She is a DCI though and acts like a hormonal teenager, smashing up an office, deliberately manipulating her superior although maybe this was to highlight the issues with the exposure she had, the survivor guilt as the boss cuts her a lot of slack.

I did find her ability to recognise faces interesting and would have loved more use of that and references. Another thing was the constant reference to her tugging on her hoodie strings, do DCI's actually wear casuals like that? Fair enough if so I just wasn't sure of it nor the often reference to her tugging on it, maybe meant to highlight her twitchiness and repetition as a comfort measure. After five times though it just felt it wasn't needed.

I think the attacks were really interesting and would have liked the story to explore more of it as more attacks happen, religious movements come after (how often do we hear a tragedy being held against survivors and attributed to God(s).

There was a lot going on so you are kept interested in the story but some of it was quite distracting, her constant thoughts to what she perceives as her debt. We know she has guilty feelings over someone but it hints and for me dragged out.

The characters I can't say I loved any of them and when I thought something was maybe happening with one or two and hinted at it kind of fell a bit flat. Lots of swearing, police procedural as we follow Lucy and co trying to find a motive and the actual killer.

Like I say interesting enough but I would have liked a bit more on the terror attacks, the people behind it, the other vulnerables, why was Lucy so different? I would have liked more depth to the characters but if this is book one in a series (not sure it is) it is a good foundation for the series, this is a debut.

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Thursday 16 June 2022

The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery

The Boardwalk BookshopThe Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out as able over 3days

Pages - 448

Publisher - Mills&Boon

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

When fate brings three strangers to a charming space for lease on the California coast, the Boardwalk Bookshop is born. Part bookstore, part gift shop, part bakery, it's a dream come true for Bree, Mikki and Ashley. But while their business is thriving, their personal lives are…not.

Bree, wounded by brilliant but cold parents and her late husband's ultimate betrayal, has sworn to protect her heart at all costs. Even from Ashley's brother, a writer and adventurer who has inspired millions. He's the first man to see past Bree's barricades to her true self, which terrifies her. Mikki has this divorce thing all figured out—somehow, she's stayed friends with her ex and her in-laws…until a new man changes how everyone looks at her, and how she sees herself. Meanwhile, Ashley discovers that the love of her life never intends to marry. Can she live without being a wife if it means she can have everything else she's ever wanted?

At sunset every Friday on the beach in front of the Boardwalk Bookshop, the three friends share a champagne toast. As their bond grows closer, they challenge one another to become the best versions of themselves in this heartachingly beautiful story of friendship, sisterhood and the transformative power of love.

My Review

Bree, Mikki and Ashley are business partners within the Boardwalk Bookshop, part bookshop, part cake shop and part gift shop. Alone they couldn't do it but together they could achieve their dream so three strangers became partners and friends somewhat. All very different, Bree runs the bookshop, has encounters with men on her terms and after everything she has been through vows not to get in deep with anyone. Ashley is happily in love with boyfriend Seth and all she wants is to get married and have her happy every after but Seth has different values and Ashley finds herself between the man she loves so much and the one thing she really wants, marriage. Mikki the third of the trio has been divorced for a few years now, her kids pretty much grown and her and her ex hubby get on better now than ever. Just as Mikki is about to dip her toe back into the dating world a curve ball she could never have predicted pops up.

The three storylines flow pretty decent and I didn't find myself distracted as we went from one to the other. The three ladies are friends as well as business partners, very different people and do a wee meet every Friday with a bottle of fizz. When one of Ashley's nearest and dearest is drawn to Bree things can get a bit tricky. Of them all I felt so much for Bree, whilst she is a bit of a self saboteur, you can totally understand why when you get into it and her parents. I actually felt heartsore for her, whilst never having that kind of relationship with a parent(s) you can't help but want to hug her. No doubt she would push you away if you tried but you get the meaning.

Ashley I went a bit back and forth on, I absolutely understand where she was coming from but some points she was a bit self involved, wrapped up in her wants than consideration of Seth having a similar feeling just on the opposite end.

Mikki oh I cringed a wee bit in one of two of her moments but again between a rock and a hard place I did feel for her. With all of the women you can't help but think what would you do/say/react to their situations.

My reading is struggling just now due to personal circumstances but it was nice to slip into their world and leave my own behind. The characters, like them or not, you absolutely drew to them and their dilemmas. I looked forward to seeing how it was going to unravel for each, 4/5 for me this time. This is my first Mallery book but it won't be my last, she weaves a tale that allows you to step in and lose yourself for a little while! I used to love Mills and Boon as a teenager, this book reminded me of that and hopefully will read a bit more now.

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Saturday 11 June 2022

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club, #2)The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over a few weeks (as able)

Pages -

Publisher - Viking

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

It's the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He's made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn't that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn't bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

My Review

This is the second in the series by Osman, you don't have to have read the first to read this and I actually prefer this of the two. I think Osman has found his feet and certainly more comfortable with his craft in this one. Back with our favourites in the retirement village, The Thursday Murder Club, elderly resident who pull together and their resources to solve mysteries/murders. DCI Hudson and PC Donna Freitas are back too investigating and also us getting to know them and each other more personally.

When a letter comes to Elizabeth from an old flame we head into a mystery of stolen diamonds, Elizabeth's past and how she has so many connections. Local dodgy dealers, drug runners, thugs and allmanners of skulduggery.

I think I liked this one better because we already know our characters strengths and weaknesses orflaws. This time we get a bit more depth and insight into Elizabeth and the team work together to solve her mystery and the assault of one of their nearest and dearest.

The book is super busy but not in a distraction type of way, we are offered page turning intrigue, interest, murder, investigation, shade or past reveal. We also have Joyce's diary style entries so along with the case we get those insights too.

The characters are older but anything but dull. Loyal, nosey, fierce, interesting and very human. They have ailments, fears, vulnerabilities, snipes, moods and humour, more than a few chuckles had throughout this one. I hope he has more than a few of these still to pen as I think they will just become better and better as the series goes on, 4/5 for me.

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Wednesday 8 June 2022

Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for book Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis, for my stop I have my review.

Dead In The WaterDead In The Water by Mark Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 6 days

Pages -

Publisher - Headline Accent

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Amazon

Summer, 1942.
The Second World War rages on but Britain now faces the Nazi threat with America at its side.

In a bombed-out London swarming with gangsters and spies, DCI Frank Merlin continues his battle against rampant wartime crime. A mangled body is found in the Thames just as some items of priceless art go mysteriously missing. What sinister connection links the two?

Merlin and his team follow a twisting trail of secrets and lies as they investigate a baffling and deadly puzzle .

My Review

This is book five in a series but my first introduction to both the author and the series. Set in world war 2, 1942, excluding the prologue. The opening is a rather uncomfortable transportation into an interaction with Nazi soldiers doing what they did back then to a wealthy Jewish family. Drawn immediately into the horrors of war and that time period.

The book branches into different story lines so it takes a little to settle to but once you get into it and further along you appreciate the interlinks. DCI Frank Merlin is a good guy, doesn't like to see a wrong go by and not be addressed even if it means ruffling some feathers. Investigating a murder, a body pulled from the water, American soldiers in London, issues with thefts, war is raging, fighting amongst the ranks, family troubles and artworks for sale for millions but it is stolen property?

A historical fiction that has a lot going on and keeps you intrigued. One of the plots takes you into a family & their dynamics, spoiled rich adult brother and sister who rely heavily on their father for money and just brats. Taking you out of the war and reminding you that whilst atrocities were ongoing for some life went a little less painful whilst the biggest hang up being money, their business ventures. Racial issues that makes for uncomfortable reading and people trying to do what is right whilst others actively block them regardless of what is at stake.

I have to admit to being a bit ignorant to knowing the a lot of the history but when I read books like this I tend to read up on some of the bits mentioned. Then I want to read up factual books and I think when a book peaks your interest like that the author has done a good job. Whilst I have came late to the series I do really like Merlin and what that he stands up for what is right, I need to catch up with the previous books, 4/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday 7 June 2022

Q&A with author John Bleasdale

Welcoming new author, John Bleasdale to talk about his debut book "Scotland's Swedish Adventure".

Hi John welcome to So Many Books, So Little Time.

Q1. Thanks for taking time out to chat with us. Tell us a bit about you.

I’m a 41 year old married man with two sons. I’ve always had a passion for writing and studied journalism at college then university, but dropped out of Uni because I didn’t like the direction it was heading in. I’ve kept my hand in though by writing for the Famous Tartan Army Magazine and Scottish Football Forums, the latter of which I co-host a podcast for.

Q2. What happened that you decided you wanted to write a book & why specifically this type of book?

I had read Neil Doherty’s book World Cup 1998: Scotland’s Story before last years delayed Euro 2020 Finals and it gave me inspiration to do one of my own. I’ve always been fascinated with the Euro 92 story, particularly how it is grossly under appreciated compared to other finals Scotland have appeared in, and my aim was to bring the story to light.

Q3. Apart from Scotland do you follow any other football team? If so would you consider penning a book about them?

I am an Aberdeen fan for my sins. Yes I would definitely consider penning a book about them, or even help one or two of them pen an autobiography.

Q4. What research did you do?

I knew most of the story through memory but watched YouTube highlights of qualifying and finals matches to remind myself of certain incidents, and went down to the Mitchell Library to get further detail of the squads that were picked for certain games. Most importantly though, I conducted zoom interviews with seven of the 20 man squad, Manager Andy Roxburgh and his assistant Craig Brown, journalist Hugh MacDonald, commentator Jock Brown, and 15 fans through a combination of zoom or email. Their accounts are what make this book special.

Q5. How did you go from the idea, to the writing, to getting published?

The process took me seven months, which in itself is remarkable given a lot of authors take a year and a half to two years. Add to that, I have a full time job and two kids, so I’m really proud to produce a quality product in such a short space of time.

Q6. How easy or difficult did you find writing this? What if any obstacles did you meet?

The biggest obstacles were when my youngest son, Henry, got not well on two occasions, and I lost a week each time of writing and research. Fortunately, I had a great publisher in Pitch Publishing behind me, who were so relaxed that they were accommodating and put no pressure on me. The actual writing didn’t phase me as it’s one of the few things I have full confidence in, but I still sought advice from friends by letting them review a chapter each to see that it read well. I am fully grateful to each of them for their assistance.

Q7. This is your debut – do you see you writing another book?

Yes, I’ve got the bug now. I’ve got one or two ideas floating around in my head but, right now, I’m going to let the dust settle on Scotland’s Swedish Adventure, enjoy my upcoming summer holiday with Suzanne, Callum and Henry before I start planning the next one.

Q8. Are you doing any or have you done any book events? Where can fans find you (social media etc)

My launch day was at the Scottish Football Museum, Hampden, which was a Q&A session hosted by Hugh MacDonald and attended by Craig Brown, Jock Brown and Dave McPherson. It was a fabulous day that was well attended and well received by those who were there. There are no upcoming events planned though I am open to any venue who will have me! Fans can find me on Twitter @jbleasdale81, on instagram @jbleasdale1981 or by listening to the Scottish Football Forums podcast through the usual platforms.

Q9. Where is the best place for people to buy your book? What if they want a signed copy?

They can go to Amazon, Waterstones or Pitch directly to buy a copy, or if they want a signed copy to message me directly. My DMs are always open and I do respond quickly – on a normal day!

Q10. Anything I haven’t asked you want to cover/answer?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to promote Scotland’s Swedish Adventure.

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