A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

‘Friends & Rivals’ by Tilly Bagshawe

I was one of  the lucky people who was selected to read and review this book for Lovereading.co.uk.  ‘Friends & Rivals’, published today, is I’m sure going to be very popular.

This is the first book I’ve ever read by Tilly Bagshawe, so I was pleased to be given the opportunity to review it and of course to discover another author.  ‘Friends & Rivals’ throws you into the world of celebrities and all the fame, glamour and backstabbing that goes with it.

Catriona has been married to Ivan, her philandering husband, for twenty years.  She loves him passionately and even though he has had affairs in the past, she has forgiven him.

Ivan and Jack are partners of a successful music management company.  Jack sends Kendall who is a very promising young singer to the UK so that Ivan can help promote her there.  It doesn’t take long however for Jack to offer her a better contract and then to jump into bed with her.  Once the media get wind of the affair it becomes public knowledge, which leaves Catriona totally devastated.

Ava is an innocent seventeen-year-old who is thrown into the world of fame.  When she is pitted against Kendall, the whole world watches, waiting to see who will come out the winner.

I found this to be an extremely addictive read and I was left wanting more.  It was quite amusing seeing names of actual famous celebrities throughout.  My favourite characters were Catriona and Jack, although it was Kendall and Ivan who made the story really interesting.  If you’re after pure escapism, read this book.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

‘Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed’ by Michelle Morgan

I would like to thank Michelle Morgan for getting her latest book sent to me so that I could review it.  This is a new edition which has been revised and expanded, the original book having been published in 2007.  I see this book as a lovely tribute to Marilyn Monroe being that this year marks 50 years since her death.

Michelle Morgan is a massive fan of Marilyn Monroe.  Over the years Michelle has read a number of books about her, some of which were just plain awful.  She got so tired of reading all the scandal, gossip and lies and this prompted her to write her own biography about Marilyn.  It has taken years of painstaking research and interviews to get this book together.

‘Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed’ has been very well presented.  A lot of information has been packed into this biography.  Throughout the book you learn all about Marilyn’s life including her childhood, acting career, her various marriages and lovers, her battle with depression and her struggle to have children.  I am pleased to see that Michelle Morgan at least hasn’t made any assumptions.  There are also a number of lovely photographs.  Towards the end of the book there is a postscript, a section where various people have remembered Marilyn, a reference guide and a very useful index.

I didn’t know an awful lot about Marilyn so was very interested in reading about her.  I’m so glad that she achieved her dream which was to be an actress.  It’s just a pity that Marilyn died so young especially as she appeared to have lots of plans.  Having read this book I am now determined to sit down and watch a couple of the films in which Marilyn appeared.

Whether you’re a fan of Marilyn Monroe or if like me you want to learn more about her, I recommend you read this book.

I give it 5 out of 5.

‘Tan’ by David Lawlor

When David Lawlor asked me if I would like to review his book I was more than happy to as I love discovering new authors.  I also enjoy reading historical fiction and am always keen to learn more.

The story begins in Balbriggan, Ireland in 1914.  Liam Mannion is accused of a crime he didn’t commit and is forced into exile.  He travels to England where he enlists and goes to war in France.  Five years later Liam is back in England, with nightmares of his battlefield memories.  He finds employment in a Manchester cotton mill but prejudice and illness soon leave him without work.  Starving and roaming the streets, Liam is rescued and enlists in a new military force called The Black and Tans, who are heading to Ireland.  He is posted to the town he originally fled from.

Whilst Liam has been away, things have changed drastically.  His childhood friends have joined the republican cause, while his brother has allied himself to the Crown forces.  Liam struggles with his own conflicted feelings about his duty to the ruthless Tans and loyalty to his friends.  He also comes face to face with the man who spread lies about him all those years ago.

As soon as I began reading the first chapter I knew that this book was for me and that I was really going to enjoy it.  It was exciting from the start and full of action throughout.  This is a very believable story and it gives you a good idea about what Ireland was like in those days.  Liam really showed his bravery especially when he found himself a bit too close to his enemies.  I also like how each chapter has been divided into several sections so that you get to know what is happening in all parts of the story, without having to wait too long.

If you like historical fiction I truly recommend this book.  But I warn you, you’ll find it very hard to put down.  Reading ‘Tan’ has left me with a thirst for more by this author.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes

Lovereading.co.uk were looking for people to review ‘Me Before You’ and I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book.

This is a wonderful story.  It is romantic and funny at times, but also very sad.  The author has written about a very sensitive and controversial subject and done it really well.

Lou Clark has worked at The Buttered Bun tea shop for a number of years and enjoys her job.  However, her boss has decided to close down which means she will need to look for other employment.  Her boyfriend, Patrick is a personal trainer and keen runner.  Lou knows that she possibly does not love him.  But she has no idea what is round the corner.

Will Traynor, once a very active man was unfortunately involved in a motorcycle accident which has left him permanently in a wheelchair.  He no longer has any desire to live and knows what he wants to do and no one is going to change his mind.  What he doesn’t know though is that Lou is about to burst into his world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and found it very hard to put down.  I really liked the two main characters.  I felt that Will gave Lou that much needed get up and go.  He wanted her to make the most of her life and to experience new things.  Lou in turn made Will happier than he had been in a while.  They were both so good for each other.

This story will stay with me for a while.

I give it 5 out of 5.

‘Painting by Numbers’ by Tom Gillespie

‘Painting by Numbers’ is Tom Gillespie’s debut novel and it is being released by Crooked Cat Publishing on Thursday 6th September 2012.  This is a dark, surreal thriller which follows one man’s relentless pursuit into an old truth buried deep within.

Day after day, Jacob Boyce visits a 17th century allegorical painting which hangs in a Glasgow art gallery.  By using a series of measurements and calculations, his aim is to create a mathematical theory that will decipher the code locked into its canvas.  As a result of his obsession Jacob’s marriage is failing and he is well on the way to losing his job.  But he has to find the truth, it’s important to him.

As more of the painting’s hidden secrets are revealed, and he meets a mysterious young woman, Jacob’s life spirals into chaos.  Worse still, the painting has started to move!

The book is divided into three parts.  The first chapter starts off with Jacob going on his regular visit to the gallery to observe the painting and make notes.  In the next few chapters you also learn about his marriage and job.  I felt that the story got really interesting towards the end of the first part and I found it extremely hard to put down from then onwards.

This is a well written novel.  The descriptions throughout are very powerful.  I could almost picture the paintings in my head.  You also get a very good feel for all the characters.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

For this and other great books from Crooked Cat Publishing visit http://www.crookedcatbooks.com/

 

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