Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen – Blog Tour Review.

 

Oh My God What a Complete Aisling

About the Book

Twenty-something Aisling – that’s pronounced Ashling – is the sensible sort.

She wears kitten heels for the sake of her arches.

And a great night out is knowing the immersion heater at home is securely switched off.

In other words, country girl Aisling likes to play it safe in the big city.

But that hasn’t helped get her man John to hurry up and pop the question.

Throwing caution to the wind an impatient Aisling tries to encourage him, only for her whole life to come crashing down.

Now no umbrella, electric blanket, nor sensibly sized heel can save her.

What’s a complete Aisling to do?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Sometimes a humorous, life warming novel is just what I need and Aisling delivered everything. She is a country girl, the daughter of a farmer who is successful in her job in the city. Some good friends, both in the city and at home and she is in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend. But she wants to be married and he doesn’t. When they go their separate ways, Aisling sees a side to life that she didn’t expect to. She discovers that you can go on holiday without military planning, you can go out for a drink during the week and occasionally have to park without a permit.
She is a lovely character and I can’t think of a think to dislike about her. Devoted to her family, a stickler for routine and cleanliness. Leaving the lights on in an unoccupied room is terrible and she is devoted to the points that different food has in her slimming club. Her observations on different people combined with a sweet naiveté was just lovely. There is humour, her observation on her father’s obsession with buying things on special offer that he doesn’t need from a well-known supermarket and also sadness when she has to deal with loss.
I would love to meet Aisling again, she seems like a nice person to know.

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The Stranger by Kate Riordan – Blog Tour Review.

the Stranger HB jacket

About the Book

Cornwall, 1940.

In the hushed hours of deepest night a young woman is found washed up on the rocks.

Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall.

Each is looking to escape her past.

But one of them is not there by choice.

As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface.

And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of . . .

In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

My Review

The Stranger is the tale of three women, all of whom leave their home to work in the land army. Another, Eleanor lives in the house in which they work and live. All of them have something they are trying to escape from.
The novel starts when the body of a young woman is swept out to sea. At the same time a diary is being read, in which secrets are revealed. It then goes back in time by a few weeks to the moment they all met and you learn what happens.
There are three narrators – Eleanor,emotionally abused by her mother, Diana, beautiful, wilful, damaged and quite often cruel and Rose, struggling with her feelings about her marriage and the past. All three are lonely for different reasons and all find their own way of dealing with it.
I liked Rose immediately, she somehow managed to cope with being on the receiving end of Diana’s antics quite well. Which at the same time managed to annoy Diana even more. But even though Diana isn’t the easiest to like I was too quick to judge, she wasn’t as devious as I originally thought. Eleanor has a terrible relationship with her harridan of a mother, who had a carer who was nearly as bad. But with her husband’s help she knew she could make her life better.
The differing views of all the women towards the war was convincing, Rose concerned for her husband, but not as much as she should have been, Diana was indifferent, just wanting to party and Jane, the third land army member wanting to know all the details.
There is also a storyline connected to minor characters that broke my heart a little bit. It was a part of the novel that was very small but had plenty of impact.
It is a beautiful novel. The remoteness and beauty of Cornwall, the history of smuggling and the families who had lived in the area for years. I could practically hear the sea, and visualise everything about the local area. I had thought that Cornwall was one of the more untouched areas during the war but reading the events in the novel I was proven wrong.
The Stranger is another fantastic novel from Kate Riordan which I read very quickly. Poignant, determined, and hopeful for the future.

You can buy the book here

The Stranger blog tour

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

IF YOU ONLY READ ONE BOOK THIS YEAR MAKE IT THIS ONE. SOME GAMES ONLY END IN ONE WAY . . .

We all have fears we hide from. But in the end they will find us . . .
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None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning.
Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own?
Was it the terrible accident?
Or when they found the first body?

My Review.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
The Chalk Man is a crime novel that felt very refreshing. Yes, there are murders. but instead of being primarily focused on a police investigation, it is about how a group of friends who are connected to both murders in the 1980s and modern-day cope.
It is a book that I want to review without giving away any plot details. There is little detail in the synopsis and I feel that this is the best way to approach the novel.
Strong friendships feature especially when Eddie is twelve years old. There are first signs of love and loyal friendships but there is also insecurity and mistrust. I enjoyed reading about Eddie’s childhood, his attempts to avoid doing everything that his parents advised, the antics the group of friends got up to, the bullying from older children and the guilt felt over events that no twelve-year-old should ever have to think about.
Combined with the life that Eddie has in modern-day, fear of being like his father, disappointment with life and loneliness it is much more than just a crime novel. He is, however determined to find out what happened years earlier and why they appear to be happening again.This is a novel where every character had a personality and they all coped with life differently and the best way they could. Even if people got hurt. It’s also about secrets, some of which don’t get revealed until near the end.
An astonishing debut.

Chalk Man Blog Tour Banner

On The Bright Side – The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

The Old-But-Not-Dead Club return, in the sequel to the INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 ¼ Years Old, bringing with them some life-affirming lawlessness.
Chaos will ensue as 85-year-old Hendrik Groen is determined to grow old with dignity: to rise up against the care home director. NO more bingo. NO more over- boiled vegetables. NO more health and safety.
85-year-old Hendrik Groen is fed up to his false teeth with coffee mornings and bingo. He dreams of escaping the confines of his care home and practising hairpin turns on his mobility scooter. Inspired by his fellow members of the recently formed Old-But-Not-Dead Club, he vows to put down his custard cream and commit to a spot of octogenarian anarchy.
But the care home’s Director will not stand for drunken bar crawls, illicit fireworks and geriatric romance on her watch. The Old-But-Not-Dead Club must stick together if they’re not to go gently into that good night. Things turn more serious, however, when rumours surface that the home is set for demolition. It’s up to Hendrik and the gang to stop it – or drop dead trying . . .
He may be the wrong side of 85, but Hendrik Groen has no intention of slowing up – or going down without a fight.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book featuring octogenarian Hendrik Groen and his group of friends so I was looking forward to reading about what they got up to in this new novel. I wasn’t disappointed.
With this book I decided to read a month at a time and found it more engaging. All of the characters reappear along with some new ones and they continue with their antics. Mainly to enjoy some good times together and annoy other residents and staff whilst doing so.
Hendrik talks about the devastation he feels over the loss of his daughter, his wife’s health and the news that he mentions throughout the book. Much of the reports concern the atrocities that occurred in France but Dutch politics is also mentioned. We also see his reaction to the failing health of a very dear friend and how the close-knit group helped him cope.
It’s a lovely book to read, different because it most of the characters are elderly but still shows spirit, devotion and humour.

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Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly.
But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.
Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?

My Review

I would like to thank the publisher for the copy received for review.

After an evening out goes disastrously wrong, Joanna has to make a decision quickly. Being honest with the police and her family or running away from scene. Whichever path she chooses there will be consequences.
‘Conceal’ is the version where Joanna decides to stay quiet. Because she didn’t act the situation is worse for her and the man she leaves on the footpath. She feels guilty, loses a lot of weight and pushes away everybody she is close to.
‘Reveal’ is where she does act and gets help for the young man but places herself in a situation where she could go to prison.

Which ever decision she took would have consequences on the rest of her life. Which would you do?

Both scenarios were fascinating but I found it easier to like and have sympathy for Joanna in ‘reveal’ . The reader is introduced to a character who has always felt that she has had to prove herself. Especially to her family, who seemed to take satisfaction in ridiculing her at family get togethers. She never stuck to anything, hung up on being a failed Oxford graduate. In ‘conceal’ you also saw a different side to her, the guilt and desperation taking over and her punishing the ones who loved her.

There were a few characters I liked in both versions. These were her husband Reuben, a strong character who loved her for who she was, her brother Wilf and her colleague Ed. All three were close to her and all could have helped if she let them.

It did take me a while to get used to the narrative. I have never read anything like it before. It is dual narrative with a difference, often the same scene played with the same characters, same time but a different outcome. You could easily enjoy both as two different novels. One of the more unusual novels that I have read this year.

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