#BookReview ALL MY FRIENDS ARE SUPERHEROES by ANDREW KAUFMAN

ABOUT THE BOOK

All Tom’s friends really are superheroes.

There’s the Ear, the Spooner, the Impossible Man. Tom even married a superhero, the Perfectionist. But at their wedding, the Perfectionist was hypnotized (by ex-boyfriend Hypno, of course) to believe that Tom is invisible. Nothing he does can make her see him. Six months later, she’s sure that Tom has abandoned her.

So she’s moving to Vancouver. She’ll use her superpower to make Vancouver perfect and leave all the heartbreak in Toronto. With no idea Tom’s beside her, she boards an airplane in Toronto. Tom has until the wheels touch the ground in Vancouver to convince her he’s visible, or he loses her forever.

120 pages

Published by Coach House Press

MY REVIEW

This was such a clever, fun and quirky little read that I raced through and will happily be re-reading for many years to come!


It’s a insightful love story – with added superhero elements!! The main protagonist finds himself invisible to his wife, ‘the perfectionist’. This happened just after they married and she finds herself moving to Vancouver desperate to start her life again, while he’s on the same plane determined to make her see him again.
I loved the way this was written – the fact that each of us have our own superpower, there are many I could identify with in this book too, and how that makes us unique in our own special way! It really captures the fact that we start to take people for granted and miss the little things that drew us to them in the first place. The author also includes some very perceptive descriptions of other superheroes amongst us and I found myself smiling on many occasions at just how relatable everything was.


Both perspectives were extremely precise and telling and I was amazed at just how much story was put into such a small book! It puts the emphasis on the things that make you ‘you’ and how they can appear to be so extraordinary and how we can often lose sight of the little traits we all possess. It is silly and surreal but touching too!

★★★★★ 

#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!!

🐟🐟🐟🐟🐟

#BookReview #20BooksOfSummer FOLLOW ME TO GROUND by SUE RAINSFORD

Back again! Time for me to review Book 16 – and guess what?!! another one that wasn’t on my original list! But it was Cosy Reading Night over the weekend and this one just spoke to me with its’ lovely gold cover and was around 200 pages so perfect for an evening of reading and scoffing of chocolate!!

‘Equal parts beauty and horror, and unlike anything you will read this year’ TEA OBREHT

‘Seethingly assured debut fuses magical realism with critical and feminist theory’ GUARDIAN


ABOUT THE BOOK
In house in a wood, Ada and her father live peacefully, tending to their garden and the wildlife in it. They are not human though. Ada was made by her father from the Ground, a unique patch of earth with birthing and healing properties. Though perhaps he didn’t get her quite right. They spend their days healing the local human folk – named Cures – who visit them, suspiciously, with their ailments.

When Ada embarks on a relationship with a local Cure named Samson, and is forced to choose between her old life with her father, and a new one with her human lover. Her decision will uproot the town – and the Ground itself – for ever.

A poised and simmering tour-de-force, FOLLOW ME TO GROUND is a sinister vision of desire and freewill, voiced in earthy prose and eviscerating detail by an astoundingly original new writer.

‘Fierce, palpable, hynoptic. A dazzling, troubling dream’ COLIN BARRETT

LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE 2019

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £9.99

hive.co.uk  £10.25

whsmith  £9.35

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a dark, strange, absorbing and extremely enjoyable read! One of those books that didn’t always work for me, but the bits that did were so captivating that I just wanted to read on!

Ada and her father live in the woods and they aren’t human. But they’re ‘tolerated’ by the humans living nearby as they have gifts that means that they can cure sickness. It’s how they get by. 

Ada was made from The Ground nearby, which is a patch of earth that has birthing and healing properties – it must also be respected as it can eat you up so you do wonder just what is the meaning of this ground – a double edged sword maybe?!

This book allows you to see the complexities of a father/daughter relationship along with how those seen as outsiders are seen within the community and there’s always a fear of them despite their help when needed.

Ada grows close to one of the ‘cures’ she is treating, and when she spends more time with Samson the dynamics change with her father – is he being over protective? Or is she being blinded by the overbearing personality of Samson. 

WE also get to see little thoughts on the pair from the people they’ve cured – the rumours, their experiences and this was a really interesting little side story. 

As Ada grows in confidence in her own abilities she starts to think more for herself and that doesn’t always lead to the best decisions, and with Samson’s own sister showing concerns you are always wondering just who to trust in their judgement of characters.

A really interesting and twisted little story and one that I raced through and hope to re-read in the future!

★★★★

#20BooksOfSummer Lanny by Max Porter #BookReview

Time to play catch up with some reviews!!  And yet another one that wasn’t on my original list – I really don’t know why I bothered with that! – but the mood just grabbed me to pick this up on Cosy Reading Night, and it was perfect for the #little part of my challenge at around 200 pages long and all I can say is WOW!! I adored Grief is the Thing with Feathers, but loved this even more!

ABOUT THE BOOK

There’s a village sixty miles outside London. It’s no different from many other villages in England: one pub, one church, red-brick cottages, council cottages and a few bigger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might do anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs.

This village belongs to the people who live in it and to the people who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, a figure schoolchildren used to draw green and leafy, choked by tendrils growing out of his mouth. 

Dead Papa Toothwort is awake. He is listening to this twenty-first-century village, to his English symphony. He is listening, intently, for a mischievous, enchanting boy whose parents have recently made the village their home. Lanny.

published by Faber & Faber

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon   £7.50

hive.co.uk  £10.35

Lanny by Max Porter  £9.35

MY REVIEW

What a special book! Hypnotic, weird, heartbreaking, quirky, dark, spellbinding – just a glorious reading experience.. I’m beginning to expect nothing else but these kind of stories from Max Porter.

Told from different viewpoints it’s the story of a family – a couple with a young boy who is different to the other children in the village – he seems to have his own way of dealing with the world he lives in and is happy to be amongst nature rather than in the thick of things with children his own age. His actions are overseen by the presence of Toothworth, who watches over the happenings in the village with his own narrative of how the world is changing in front of him, but with special attention given o Lanny who is his favourite. He gets him!

I loved the viewpoints of Lanny and his mother and father – they both have different outlooks on life and how to raise their child – his father is always consumed by work and his commute, his mother is a writer who suffered with depression after Lanny was born so their move to the country was them trying to live a different way. They hire a local art teacher, Pete, to teach him and there is a connection between them. When Lanny goes missing he is the first under suspicion because he’s an outsider too. Watching on as the story unravels you really get to see how the assumptions on people fall under the microscope and how perception affects the reality of the situation.

This was a beautifully written story, the use of language and the way that Toothworth listens to all the dialogue of the villagers was just wonderful and often had me laughing with the randomness of the conversations. Just brilliant!!

★★★★★

#20BooksOfSummer Man With A Seagull on his Head by Harriet Paige #bookreview

Finally I’m back with another book finished off the list!  This was book 10 and another one from my ‘little’ list, where it’s under 200 pages.  I think that is 7 books read now from my ‘little’ list so I really need to up my game on the ‘large’ book front – if only there weren’t so many other books I need to read for blog tours and publication dates!!

And what a stunner of a book this was!  I don’t know if I connected to it more because it was set very locally to me, but I just found it to be so absorbing and touching!

A gull falls from the sky and strikes a council worker on the beach below. From that moment on he is obsessed, a crazed visionary depicting the scene and the unknown figure with in who filled his view at the moment of impact. The mysterious beauty of his creations draws others to him, but can they lay hold of that which possesses him? And what of his anonymous muse?

‘A bona fide gem. A book that would be a credit on any short list.’Guardian

PUBLISHED BY BlueMoose Books

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website  £8.99

hive.co.uk  £6.25

WHSmith  £6.47

MY REVIEW

Quirky and poignant – my kind of book! And set in the south east corner of Essex that I know so well, this was a wonderfully touching little read that made a very hot afternoon fly by.

Centred around Ray Eccles who lives a quiet life in a quiet cul-de-sac in Southend On Sea, he’s a succesful artist but you’d never know it to see him. Happy to stay out of the limelight and keep to himself – but that all changes when he has a rather unfortunate incident on Shoebury East Beach with a seagull. Witnessed by one woman, he returns home from hospital with her face on his mind and starts his obsession with her that takes over his whole artistic outlook and sees him paint the same scene for 10 years.

The woman who saw the incident with the seagull has her own quiet life – working in a clothes shop, living a normal life but when the work of Ray Eccles becomes a huge success, she knows that the face he is painting is her. She doesn’t know how to feel about it and the struggle she faces is brilliantly portrayed.

The whole cast of charaters in this book are such a wonderful mix of the good and bad sides of humanity. The art studio owners who look upon Ray as their pet project when they take his work to London and have him move in with them, the local reporter from the Evening Echo trying to make her name with a breaking story, and especially Ray himself who never escapes his ‘oddball’ personna and seems happiest when he’s doing his own thing and not living by the rules of normal life.

I loved the touching and human side of the story and the familiarity of the places visited really brought this to life for me – any book that features Keddies is fine by me! It had a great mix of humour and tragedy, and the absurd side of the art world where anything seems to go if it has the right PR behind it, no matter the effect on the artist who was just trying to make sense of what happened to him and dealing with his grief and loneliness.

A stunning little book and one I’m very glad to have read!

★★★★

#BookReview The Map of Us by Jules Preston #bookblogger #TheMapOfUs

About the book

One of the most original and charming books you will ever read, this is perfect for all those who love Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things

Readers love The Map of Us:

A story that will melt even the most hardened soul … utterly charming’ Irish Times bestseller Carmel Harrington

‘Quirky, original and humorous’ USA Today bestselling author Sue Fortin

Totally addictive’ Joe Heap

‘Beautiful, funny, warm and clever’ Darcie Boleyn

‘An unexpected gem of a book’ Rachel Oakes, Litsy

‘A very fresh, imaginative approach to a love story’ Kraftireader

One to keep forever’ Celia J Anderson

‘The best book I have read in many years’ Martin 6654, Amazon reviewer

‘Without doubt one of the very best books I have ever read’ TAW, Amazon reviewer

‘Buy it because every page is a treasure. Buy it because you’ll love it … over and over again!’ Mart, Amazon reviewer

So very worthy of five stars. Full of humour with touches of sadness. A true wordsmith’ Phil M, Amazon reviewer

‘I don’t usually write book reviews at 2.30 in the morning but I loved this book so much that I HAD to write my review as soon as I finished it…The characters in this book will stay with me for a long time’ Annalisa999, Amazon reviewer

‘A beautiful sigh of a book’ Mees, Amazon reviewer

***
A story of love and lost directions

Violet North is wonderfully inconvenient. Abandoned by her family and lost in an imagined world of moors and adventure, her life changes in the space of just 37 words exchanged with a stranger at her front door.

Decades later, Daniel Bearing has inherited his father’s multi-million pound business, and is utterly lost. He has no idea who he is or where his life is headed.

When Violet’s granddaughter’s marriage falls apart, Tilly, always adept with numbers, compiles a detailed statistical report to pinpoint why. But the Compatibility Index Tilly creates has unforeseen consequences for everyone in her world.

Tilly and Daniel share a secret too. 10.37am, April 22nd.
Soon, a complex web of secrets and lies is exposed and an adventure begins with a blue typewriter…
 
Published by Harper Impulse
Publication Date – 6th September 2018
 
Pre-order Links
 
 

MY REVIEW

Charming, Quirky, Perceptive – loved it!

I found this to be such a fun, emotional and original story , and the short, snappy chapters really gave this such a fresh feel compared to some other books! It does take a short while before you become used to the flitting between characters and timelines, but once you are in that zone the story just flows really nicely and you find yourself eagerly anticipating each new chapter to see whose story you’ll be plunged back into next and where their journey will lead to!

It’s the story of families, the journeys we all take through life, finding the meaning of happiness and all that entails! From Tilly who works in market research and analyzes every aspect of her life into charts and facts, to Violet who is housebound and extremely creative, to Jack who is a world expert on the colour blue, to Daniel the workaholic who is never out of a suit, and to Katherine who is slightly obsessed with buying handbags! All the characters share a link and it is fascinating to see how it all links together and how those personalities all affect one another.

There are so many things you’ll find yourself thinking about when you read this book! There are many random observations that you often wonder why they’re being mentioned, but it all begins to make sense by the end!

Each character has such a different way of having their story told and this was another clever aspect of the book. It helped sum up their personalities and their stories in different ways. If you loved the quirkiness of Eleanor Oliphant or The Keeper of Lost Things, then you’ll love this too!!

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for my advance reading e-copy.

                                                                    💙💙💙💙💙

#BookReview Pretend I’m Dead by Jen Beagin #PublicationDay

About the book

Jen Beagin’s brilliant, off-beat and deeply moving novel introduces an unforgettable character, Mona – almost twenty-four, emotionally adrift and cleaning houses to get by. Volunteering for a needle-exchange programme, she falls for a recipient she calls Mr Disgusting, who proceeds to break her heart in unimaginable ways.

In search of healing, Mona decamps to Taos, New Mexico, for a fresh start, where she finds a community of seekers and cast-offs, all of whom have one or two things to teach her – the pyjama-wearing, blissed-out New Agers, the slightly creepy client with peculiar tastes in controlled substances, the psychic who might really be psychic. But always lurking just beneath the surface are her memories of growing up in a chaotic, destructive family from which she’s trying to disentangle herself, and the crushing legacy of the past she left behind.

The story of Mona’s journey to find her place in the world is at once fearless and wonderfully strange, true to life and boldly human, and introduces a stunning, one-of-a-kind new voice in American fiction.

Published by OneWorld Publications

Publication Date – 5th July 2018

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   £12.99

Hive.co.uk  £9.95

Book Depository  £10.38

My Review

I found this to be a unique and cleverly written book about a young woman who is clearly struggling with finding meaning in her life, and begins to learn lots about herself and the world around her from the weirdly wonderful characters she meets along the way!

Mona is 24 and works as a cleaner. She is a dreamer, and will happily spend the time cleaning fantasizing about the lives of the people whose homes she is in, along with occasionally taking a sneaky peek at their belongings! She also volunteers at a needle exchange so meets a wide variety of people there – and ‘Mr Disgusting’ as she calls him is one such person she feels a connection to although she doesn’t know why. He is a very powerful character and Mona finds herself becoming willingly trapped in his world despite knowing the things she was doing wasn’t good for her.

When things don’t work out with him – thankfully – she finds herself in a new town with very different people around her and they take her under her wing and try and show her there is more to life than the ‘existing’ path she finds herself on. It’s a chance for a new start but isn’t sure how to let go of past behaviours!

Mona is such a fascinating character. She is awkward and emotionally adrift but isn’t backward in coming forward and given the start she had in life, you do understand why she has gone through life not connecting or feeling part of things. This is her discovery and it also gives you as a reader a way of looking at things from different perspectives. And how can you not love a character whose favourite pastime is vacuuming and has a collection of favourite vacuum cleaners that she even names!

I loved the quirky humour throughout – often crude but very funny! It was one of those books that I wasn’t expecting too much from but it surprised me with how much I wanted Mona to find her happy ending – whatever that may be – and how the new experiences she went on helped her grow and move on.

My thanks to the publisher for the copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

                                                  📷📷📷