#BookReview LEONARD AND HUNGRY PAUL by RONAN HESSION @Ofmooseandmen

ABOUT THE BOOK

Leonard and Hungry Paul are two friends who see the world differently. They use humour, board games and silence to steer their way through the maelstrom that is the 21st century.

‘The figure in Munch’s painting isn’t actually screaming!’ Hungry Paul said. ‘Really, are you sure?’ Replied Leonard. ‘Absolutely. That’s the whole thing. The figure is actually closing his ears to block outa scream. Isn’t that amazing? A painting can be so misunderstood and still become so famous.’

LEONARD AND HUNGRY PAUL is the story of two quiet friends trying to find their place in the world. It is about those uncelebrated people who have the ability to change the world, not by effort or force, but through their appreciation of all that is special and overlooked in life.

published by Bluemoose Books

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

Amazon

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

A sheer delight!  No over the top characters, no outlandish plot, just a story of 2 men who are perfectly content in their own skin.   They have their routines, they live very quiet lives – it may be unconventional for many but for them it works perfectly.  And they both have hearts of gold who will often overthink situations, but that method works for them and I just fell  more and more in love with them with each page I turned!

Leonard and Hungry Paul are the men in question – they’re both very loyal to their families, and loyal in friendship too.  Their quiet way of living is at odds with the louder, more hurried world we’re now living in and as they encounter new situations they try and make sense of it all, seeking solace in a board game and a chat.

There is a real innocence about this book – there are no big egos involved, and they’re completely at ease with who they are and what their place is in the world.  And the relationships between family and friends were so solid and really touching.  They find comfort in one another, but still find time to test the water  and make the scary jump into new territories, without making a fuss or even telling others until it has become a reality or success.

As Leonard ventures into the world of dating I found myself sharing his anguish over how to make the first move, what’s the right etiquette etc, and as Hungry Paul wins a competition and finds a new job, I was almost proud of him, watching on as he navigated a new start – and I want in on the Sunday Night Quiet Club!!! It sounds like my kind of club!!

This is a book where you revel in their victories and share their pain when they’re suffering.  It’s a celebration of the quiet souls in this world who don’t need constant attention or praise and brings to attention the fact that the little things in life can bring the biggest rewards. It’s not about who has got the most money, or the flashiest car, if you don’t have that peace of mind of knowing who you are as a person,  then it’s all worthless. And these men are very clear as to who they are!

So many wonderful little details throughout made this such a perfect book – and I cherished every single page!! Highly recommended!!

🐟🐟🐟🐟🐟

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#BookReview DON’T THINK A SINGLE THOUGHT by DIANA CAMBRIDGE

ABOUT THE BOOK

1960s New York, and Emma Bowden seems to have it all – a glamorous Manhattan apartment, a loving husband, and a successful writing career. But while Emma and her husband Jonathan are on vacation at the Hamptons, a child drowns in the sea, and suspicion falls on Emma. As her picture-perfect life spirals out of control, and old wounds resurface, a persistent and monotonous voice in Emma’s head threatens to destroy all that she has worked for…

Taut, elegant and mesmerising, Don’t Think a Single Thought lays bare a marriage, and a woman, and examines the decisions – and mistakes – which shape all of our lives.

published by LOUISE WALTERS BOOKS

publication date – 26th September 2019

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website 

Amazon 

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

A really stylish and magnetic story centred around a truly fascinating character, who seemingly had it all along but also had many demons which impacted the way she lived her life from childhood to adulthood, and no matter how many pills she took or therapists she talked to, it was never enough to set her on the path for a quiet life.

Set in the Hamptons it’s a story of Emma who is plagued by ill health which would leave her in bed for days, unable to function normally and despite the best efforts of her husband and a move to the beach, it seemed nothing would ever make her life an easier one.

The story often goes back to Emma and her childhood, where she witnessed a traumatic event and had a poor relationship with her parents and as you watch over this character as time goes on, you get to see the struggles she has with herself, whilst wondering over her reliability as a narrator. There’s always that unease about her as you see her struggle through, acting erratically and even when she gets back to writing she is plagued by events that she cannot shake out of her mind.

Her honesty as a writer earns her huge success and many fans but that success doesn’t last forever, and the voices in her head start to get louder once more – is tragedy always going to follow her around?

I really enjoyed how involved you became as a reader with this book. The anxiety Emma suffers is brilliantly portrayed and by repeating the past is she just hoping that things will change in the end or is there no other way out for her? A sophisticated and engaging read, which I highly recommend.

★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 21st September 2019 #bookblogger

Smile it’s the weekend!!  And if this sunny weather we are enjoying here in the south of the country continues then  I’ll be extremely happy!  Best to enjoy it while we have it – the housework can wait another day or two!! There’s books to be read!

And it’s been a pretty good week reading wise! Another 6 books finished, just 1 downloaded from Netgalley and 2 lovely books in the post for review!  Here’s a quick look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Kate Bradbury  – 5 stars

Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi  – 3 stars

After The End by Clare Mackintosh  – 4 stars

Jessie’s Little Bookshop by the Sea by Kirsty Ferry  – 5 stars

The Secret to Happiness by Jessica Redland  – 4 stars

Fuck Yeah Video Games by Daniel Hardcastle  – 5 stars

BOOKHAUL

Starting at Netgalley

RABBITS FOR FOOD by BINNIE KIRSHENBAUM

published by Serpent’s Tail

Publication Date – 14th November 2019

It’s New Year’s Eve, the holiday of forced fellowship, mandatory fun, and paper hats. While dining out with her husband and their friends, Bunny -an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer-fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital, where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment.
Instead, she passes the time chronicling the lives of her fellow “lunatics” and writing a novel about what brought her there. Her story is a brilliant and brutally funny dive into the disordered mind of a woman who sees the world all too clearly.
Propelled by razor-sharp comic timing and rife with pinpoint insights, Kirshenbaum examines what it means to be unloved and loved, to succeed and fail, to be at once impervious and raw. Rabbits for Food shows how art can lead us out of-or into-the depths of disconsolate loneliness and piercing grief. A bravura literary performance from one of America’s finest writers.

THE RECOVERY OF ROSE GOLD by STEPHANIE WROBEL – copy for review

publication date – March 2020

Emerson MFA graduate now living in the UK Stephanie Wrobel’s THE RECOVERY OF ROSE GOLD, the story of a young woman being slowly poisoned by her mother for 18 years who makes a calculated decision to take her in after her prison sentence, an exploration of the aftermath of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, to Amanda Bergeron at Berkley, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in 2020.

THE GLITTERING HOUR by IONA GREY

copy ahead of Blog Tour

The epic and long-awaited new romance from the author of Letters to the Lost, winner of the RNA Award.
Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying just the right side of scandal.
Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina’s orbit one night and can never let her go.
Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, this is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss.

CURRENTLY READING

LEONARD AND HUNGRY PAUL by RONAN HESSION

😼😼😼😼😼

HAPPY READING!!

#BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway Flora Air by Janice Cairns @rararesources #FloraAir

Delighted to be taking part in this Blog Tour for FLORA AIR by JANICE CAIRNS. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources.  As well as my thoughts on the book I’m also hosting a giveaway!!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Flora Air is passionate about writing and she dreams of becoming an author, but she’s in a fog with her mundane day job. She meets a charismatic professor who nurtures her writing and suddenly her dreams seem possible. A touch of magic at the professor’s home adds old-fashioned charm and enchantment to Flora’s writing journey. When she realises she loves the married professor, her journey takes a wild turn. Can Flora actually succeed in becoming an author? What happens to the love Flora Air feels for the professor?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author Bio

Janice Cairns is the author of quality romantic fiction.  For more than thirty years she has lived in Edinburgh and her first three novels are set there.  She now lives in a historic market town not far from Edinburgh.  Most of her time is spent writing or thinking about writing.  She loves long country walks, reading good books and eating out in lovely restaurants.

Social Media links: 

Author Facebook

Giveaway to Win 2 x PB copies of Flora Air (UK Only) 

*Terms and Conditions –UK  entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

MY REVIEW

I’m finding it rather refreshing to  pick up more books nowadays that feature characters who aren’t just fresh out of school, or dealing with life in their 20’s and in Flora Air we meet a woman who is dreaming of being a writer but working in a mundane day job.  She’s also starting to show symptoms of menopause and all that entails – the lack of sleep, the self doubt – and this story follows her as she tries to write the story she knows she’s got in her and how a chance meeting starts to see her life turn in a new direction.

Professor Jolly is a teacher of creative writing and coming to terms with his wife being poorly in hospital. He seems genuinely interested in Flora and her writing and it’s touching to see their friendship blossom – they’re both lonely souls and it seems fitting that they find one another in this way.   Having another person give her feedback on her writing seems to spur her on and her outlook becomes more positive and she finally starts to believe in herself and what she could achieve.

This was a really easy to read story that just came to life for me when the magical elements were introduced!  I’ve found myself wanting my books on my shelves to come to life in the same way that they do in this book – I’m still waiting but hoping!! Maybe they wait until I’m fast asleep……

I really enjoyed spending time with Flora and how having someone believe in her helped push her on to achieve her dream and help her overcome the other issues in her life.  Well worth a look if you’re after a book with a lovely magical feel!

★★★

D

#BookReview Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

ABOUT THE BOOK

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?

Published by Picador

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

I’ve loved discovering translated Japanese fiction this year so had high hopes for this to be another quirky reading experience, but for some reason it just didn’t feel as magical to me as I hoped it would! It has all the elements of a mysterious cafe and time travelling experiences but it just fell a little flat for me and I didn’t feel connected with it as I’d hoped.

Set in a basement cafe set off the beaten track, it’s a story that follows a few characters as they find themselves there for whatever reason as they’ve heard of this ‘legend’ that if you sit in a certain seat in the cafe, you can be transported back in time to meet someone from your past. There are a number of very important rules that need to be followed for it to work but that doesn’t put off these characters as they are desperate to go back to have one more moment in a certain point in their life – but the present cannot change. Call it the butterfly effect if you will.

There are some very emotional and poignant reasons for wanting to go back – from a woman who let a love walk out of her life, to a woman losing her husband to alzheimers – and reading their stories makes you understand why they wanted to go back. And what it shows is that going back alters their mindset – maybe things happened for a reason and you are left thinking that sometimes things are just meant to be and to happen in the way they did.

I did enjoy this story and it was quite enlightening but I did find at times it felt more like I was reading a play script as the flow just wasn’t there throughout. A sweet read.

★★★

My thanks to Picador and Netgalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview Jessie’s Little Bookshop by the Sea by Kirsty Ferry @ChocLituk

ABOUT THE BOOK

Another wonderful new story from Kirsty Ferry. Part of Kirsty’s Tempest Sisters series but they can all be read on their own. This is Jessie’s story.


Take a trip to the little bookshop by the sea …

Jessie Tempest has two main interests: reading books and selling books. Her little bookshop in the seaside town of Staithes is a cosy hideaway from the chilly Yorkshire wind, but it’s also Jessie’s sanctuary from the outside world.
When writer Miles Fareham and his son Elijah arrive to stay in the holiday apartment above the shop, it’s a test for Jessie who has always felt clueless when it comes to kids. But as she learns the story of the single father and the inquisitive eight-year-old, Jessie realises that first impressions aren’t always the right ones – and, of course, you can never judge a book by its cover

published by Choc Lit

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

Apple Books

Kobo

Google Play Books

Nook

MY REVIEW

A book about a woman who loves books, set by the seaside in a little bookshop – it’s perfect!! I love The Tempest Sisters series and this is another wonderful installment, but can easily be read as a standalone and it will make you just want to run off and open a bookshop by the sea!!

Jessie is the bookworm in this book! She loves reading and she loves her bookshop, although she often struggles to put the books she gets in on the shelves to sell as she’d rather have them at home with her – I understand that feeling!  She has 2 sisters – Rosa and Angel – and they’re a great support network for one another despite being busy doing their own things!

Her bookshop has  a holiday flat above and the only thing Jessie isn’t keen on come school holidays is children moving in for the week because that means noise! And her feelings towards children aren’t helped when she has a run in with a father and son who she crosses paths with – the father takes umbrage at his child being told off, the little boy just thinks it’s great that he’s a rebel and has been thrown out of a shop – as most 8 year olds would!

When the father and son team turn out to be the holiday tenants that brings much awkwardness to their meetings but they soon find common ground – Miles, the father, is a writer and in town to do some research.  Elijah loves to read and that’s something Jessie understands so soon finds in this little person that she ‘gets’!    He’s such a cute and funny little boy anyway you can’t help not being won over by him!!

The relationship between Miles and Jessie is a really touching one,especially as he’s still struggling to come to terms with loss in his and Elijah’s life.  Their shared love of books is the thing that brings them together and the more time Jessie starts spending with them, the more it all seems so comfortable and meant to be.  What isn’t so helpful is that he and Elijah live in Suffolk! Not exactly round the corner so they both start being realistic about where things could go…

I just loved the setting and all the characters in this story! It has all the feels and was just so easy to connect to and want that happy ending that people like this deserve. Wonderful!!

★★★★★

#BookReview After The End by Clare Mackintosh

ABOUT THE BOOK

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son.

What if they could have both?

A gripping and propulsive exploration of love, marriage, parenthood, and the road not taken, After the End brings one unforgettable family from unimaginable loss to a surprising, satisfying, and redemptive ending and the life they are fated to find. With the emotional power of Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, Mackintosh helps us to see that sometimes the end is just another beginning

PUBLISHED BY SPHERE

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK 

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

This was a very emotive story that cleverly explores the ‘what if’s’ around a married couple dealing with their terminally ill son but disagreeing on the course of treatment for him. The alternate storylines threw me a little bit when I first started reading them, but it soon made perfect sense in allowing the story to be told in this way and really added to your experience of reading as you’d put yourself in that position and wonder what you’d do in a similar position.

Max and Pip are a happily married couple who should be living life to the fullest with their son Dylan, but he’s in hospital with a brain tumour so his life is medication, tube feeding and being made ‘comfortable’. Pip is by his side constantly – her world is the hospital and the other parents and children on the ward – her husband is still working flying back to the US on and off, whilst still consumed by thoughts of his son. When the news about his condition worsens, the split in the outlook of Max and Pip becomes clear – what’s best for Dylan? How do you decide if you can’t agree? So a court case is the way forward…

The story then splits to the alternate timelines – what would happen if Pip got her way to let him die with dignity? and what would happen if Max got his wish to try new treatments in the US? This opens up a great insight into how life could turn out in both scenarios and really showed that there is no real right or wrong in such a tragic situation.

WE also get the viewpoint of Laila, a Dr working at the hospital and dealing with Dylan and how he impact affects her and I really liked seeing this different persepective from someone who has to deal professionally but can’t help but get emotionally attached.

It also brought to light the impact that the role of the media plays – how the public take sides in matters such as these – the abuse that the parents could receive from people who didn’t know all the facts but would make their minds up from what they read in the papers or saw on TV.

I was totally absorbed in this story and found the way the different outcomes were allowed to play out was quite refreshing in the way that it let you see the ‘after’ story evolve, often in ways I didn’t expect. A very moving story.

★★★★